The importance of global handwashing day has increased several folds this year as the best way to beat coronavirus before its vaccine is invented can be done by maintaining personal hygiene.
Since early this year, around March, many celebrated personalities took up the challenge to spread awareness about the importance of hand-washing to combat this highly contagious virus.
To understand how the pandemic has made hand-washing more important than ever, several health experts have shared their views on this Global Handwashing Day. Dr Soumya Reddy V, General Physician says “Hands are the main pathways of germ transmission in general or during health care. Proper hand hygiene is the single most important means for preventing the spread of infection”
The action of hand antisepsis practice is generally performed either by hand rubbing with an alcohol-based formulation (Ethanol-based or isopropyl alcohol-based formulations) or handwashing with plain or antimicrobial soap and water for 20 seconds or more.
When asked about the importance of washing hands for more than 20 seconds, Dr Inder Kumar Kasturia, Consultant, Family Medicine mentions that, when we rub our hands with soap and water it rips the outer layer of the virus and enables the components of the soap to kill it. Dr Inder added “washing hands with only water may not be helpful nor will it help if we just touch the water and dry our hands.”
Many health professionals state excessive hand washing can cause dermatitis due to the chemicals in wash and rubs used. It can disrupt the integrity of the skin surface and cause more harm than benefit. The right amount of alcohol percentage is a minimum of 75% alcohol (ethanol or propanol) to attain proper sanitization after its use.
Started in 2008, Global Handwashing Day is an annual global awareness day promoting handwashing with soap as an easy, effective and affordable way to prevent diseases and save lives. Global Handwashing Day is celebrated every year on October 15, the day was founded by the Global Handwashing Partnership and is an opportunity to design, test and replicate creative ways to encourage people to wash their hands with soap at critical times.