Dr. Spoorthi Arun, Internal Medicine, Promed Hospital

CHENNAI: On May 5th, healthcare professionals worldwide commemorate World Hand Hygiene Day. This year's theme, "Together, we can accelerate action to prevent infections and antimicrobial resistance in health care and build a culture of safety and quality in which hand hygiene improvement is given high priority," highlights the critical role that proper hand hygiene plays in reducing the transmission of germs and bacteria.

In light of the pandemic, the World Health Organization (WHO) is emphasising the importance of proper hand hygiene in preventing the spread of infections. According to the WHO, one of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of germs and bacteria is through proper hand washing. The virus can survive on surfaces for hours, and touching contaminated surfaces can easily spread the virus to hands, which can lead to infection if people touch their face or mouth.

WHO recommends washing hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after coming into contact with potentially contaminated surfaces. If soap and water are not available, hand sanitisers containing at least 60% alcohol can be used as an alternative.

To help prevent the spread of infectious diseases, healthcare professionals recommend following a proper hand-washing routine, which involves wetting hands with clean, running water, applying soap, scrubbing all areas of the hands for at least 20 seconds, special attention to nails, rinsing well under clean, running water, and drying with a clean towel or air drying.

Practising good hand hygiene offers numerous benefits, including reducing the risk of getting sick, preventing the spread of infectious diseases such as COVID-19, protecting others, particularly vulnerable populations, and promoting overall health and well-being. It is important to note that good hand hygiene should continue to be practised even after the pandemic subsides.

Experts recommend washing or sanitising your hands before handling or eating food, after using the restroom, and after coughing, sneezing, or blowing your nose. It's also important to sanitise or wash your hands after touching animals. If you are caring for someone who is sick, remember to wash your hands before and after. Lastly, make sure to wash or sanitise your hands after handling garbage or anything that may be contaminated. Practising good hand hygiene is a simple yet effective way to promote the overall well-being of an individual.

In conclusion, World Hand Hygiene Day serves as a reminder of the importance of proper hand hygiene in preventing the spread of infectious diseases. By following simple hand-washing procedures, using hand sanitisers when necessary, and practising good hand hygiene habits, we can all do our part to promote overall health and well-being for ourselves and those around us.

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