Friday, October 15, 2010

Time to roll up your sleeves and soap up: It’s Global Hand-Washing Day!

Join hands — clean hands, that is — with people from around the world today and celebrate Global Hand-Washing Day.

Who knew that something as simple as washing your hands with water and soap can help prevent hundreds of diseases in your community? In fact, the United Nations says hand-washing is the most effective and inexpensive way to prevent diarrheal and respiratory infections that take the lives of millions of children around the world every year.

Yet despite that fact, far too few people wash their hands with soap and water regularly. But you can help.

This year’s global campaign focuses on the importance of hand-washing among children and the role schools play in teaching about hand-washing. It highlights five key facts everyone should know:

• Washing hands with water alone is not enough. Using soap works to break down grease and dirt that carry most germs.

• Hand-washing with soap can prevent diseases that kill millions of children every year.

• The critical moments for hand-washing with soap are after using the toilet or cleaning a child and before handling food.

• Hand-washing with soap is the single most cost-effective health intervention.

• Children can be agents of change.

Get involved and check out the many games, lesson plans (PDF), videos and resources available on the Global Hand-Washing Day website.

And don’t forget to check out APHA’s Get Ready hand-washing handouts, available in English and Spanish, and our new frequently asked questions about hand-washing.

Roll up your sleeves, break out the soap and help spread the word about proper hygiene. Happy hand-washing!

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