22nd March 2020

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Categories: Engage for Success Blog

Please, Don’t Wash your Hands of this Pandemic

World Water Day is observed annually on 22 March and much of the message shared is usually around saving water. Today, the timing couldn’t be more perfect to stress the importance of using water for hand washing in whatever work situation you are in currently.

It is probably one of the first things we learnt to do from a very young age. And yet, according to the Centres For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 1 in 5 people don’t wash their hands at all. Handwashing is everyone’s responsibility. It is an easy and effective way to stop the spread of germs and stay healthy. And, so, is more important at this current time than ever.

Want more reasons to practice better hand hygiene, as if the COVID-19 isn’t enough on its own! Read on to discover some brow raising facts and stats about handwashing:

  • It is estimated that on average people come into contact with 300 different surfaces every 30 minutes, which have about 840,000 germs.
  • There are more bacteria on a chopping board and TV remote control than on a toilet seat.
  • Researchers in London estimate that if everyone routinely washed their hands, a million deaths a year could be prevented.
  • Around 33% of people don’t use soap when washing their hands. Using soap and water to wash hands is more effective because the wetting agents in soap can lift bacteria from the skin.
  • If soap and water are not available, an alcohol based hand sanitiser containing at least 60% alcohol is the best alternative.
  • Most people only wash their hands for 6 seconds. According to NHS, handwashing should last two rounds of singing “Happy Birthday” (around 20 seconds).
  • Up to 80% of communicable diseases are transferred by touch. Washing hands at least five times a day has been shown to significantly reduce the rate of colds and infections.
  • Approximately 39% of people don’t wash their hands after sneezing, coughing or blowing their nose. Only 20% of people wash their hands before preparing food and 39% before eating food.

Get your clean act together

So from all this, if you were to take away just two things to practice better hand hygiene during this time, it’s this:

Step 1: Unless you’re a ‘Key Worker’ stay at home, and wash your hands as often as possible

Step 2: Follow step 1

Author Bio: Binu Jacob is Communications Professional working for the British Standards Institute and produces regular content for Engage for Success.

Photo Credit: Photo by Austin Kehmeier on Unsplash