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Each year, Global Handwashing Day emphasizes how consistently washing hands with soap can serve as a lifeline to our wellbeing.
This year’s theme, “Clean hands – a recipe for health,” accentuates the important link between handwashing and food. Washing hands with soap and water before cooking, eating or feeding others is essential for keeping food clean and safe, preventing diseases and helping children grow up healthy and strong.
With a similar goal of stressing the health importance of regular handwashing, Bradley Corporation conducts an annual Healthy Hand Washing Survey. The survey highlights Americans’ self-reported handwashing beliefs and behaviors, sometimes revealing disconnects in Americans’ handwashing follow-through.
For example, during 2018’s hard-hitting flu season, which sent more than 900,000 people to hospitals, Bradley’s survey found that nearly 60 percent of Americans were extremely or quite concerned about contracting a new or particularly resilient strain of the flu this year, and 61 percent made it a point to wash their hands more frequently to avoid getting germs or passing them on to others.
Even so, when asked about their hand washing habits in public restrooms, only two-thirds of respondents said they “always” wash their hands after using a public restroom. Moreover, 38 percent report they “frequently” see others leave a public restroom without washing.
“Our aim is to keep the health benefits of handwashing with soap top-of-mind year-round, especially during cold and flu season. Celebrating Global Handwashing Day is a natural outgrowth of that mission,” says Jon Dommisse, director of global marketing and strategic development for Bradley Corporation.
“Connecting handwashing with our daily habits or rituals is an effective way to form good hand washing practices. Linking handwashing to each meal and every visit to the restroom is an easy and automatic reinforcement of healthy hand washing behavior.”
According to the Global Public-Private Partnership for Handwashing (PPPHW) who created Global Handwashing Day, research shows that better handwashing practices could cut the rate of acute respiratory infections (including pneumonia) by more than 20 percent and diarrheal diseases by nearly 50 percent.
Medical experts from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization agree that developing a habit of consistent and thorough handwashing with soap and water is the best prevention of cold and flu germs and the spread of other contagious illnesses seen around the globe like diarrhea and pneumonia.
“In addition to advocating access to and education of universal hand washing practices, Global Handwashing Day is a great reminder for businesses and facilities to ensure they are providing clean and well-maintained facilities that promote thorough hand washing,” Dommisse said.