Don’t Give Germs a Hand
You probably don’t think much about washing your hands.
Sure, when you were young, your mom told you to “Wash up before dinner.” And we all see signs announcing “Employees Must Wash Hands Before Returning to Work” in restaurants. You might have even seen a poster touting the importance of handwashing at a public event somewhere.
But overall, a lot of us don’t really give it a second thought. The handwashing message has become background noise.
That’s not good — or healthy.
Hand hygiene is very important to all of us and something that should be continually taught and practiced. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), teaching people about handwashing helps them and their communities stay healthy.
When the community is educated about handwashing it:
- Reduces the number of people who get sick with diarrhea by 23–40%
- Reduces diarrheal illness in people with weakened immune systems by 58%
- Reduces respiratory illnesses, like colds, in the general population by 16–21%
- Reduces absenteeism due to gastrointestinal illness in schoolchildren by 29–57%
Global Handwashing Day is an annual global advocacy day dedicated to increasing awareness and understanding about the importance of handwashing with soap as an easy, effective, and affordable way to prevent diseases and save lives.
This year marks the 10th anniversary of the first Global Handwashing Day held in 2008. On that day, over 120 million children in 70 countries around the world washed their hands with soap. Since then, community and national leaders have used Global Handwashing Day to spread the word about the importance of handwashing and to show simplicity and value of clean hands.
Why is handwashing so important to Sickweather? Because we understand the importance of clean hands in the effort to stop the spread of illness.
Sickweather provides real-time, hyperlocal tracking data for illnesses. Flu, pneumonia, cold, fever, food poisoning, hand-foot-and-mouth disease, and strep throat are just a few of the illnesses and symptoms we track. We share our information to help alert people to what’s going around their area, so they can make informed decisions about their health.
Our illness tracking and reporting network are global. Sickweather has a presence in most developed countries and we are working diligently to penetrate the more remote locations around the world. In these areas, the information can be even more valuable in monitoring illnesses and potentially saving lives.
Approximately 1.8 million children under the age of 5 die each year from diarrheal diseases and pneumonia, the top two killers of young children around the world. Handwashing with soap could protect about 1 out of every 3 young children who get sick with diarrhea and almost 1 out of 5 young children with respiratory infections like pneumonia.
Events like Global Handwashing Day are great reminders for us all to practice good hand hygiene. As a champion of helping communities around the world be and stay healthier, Sickweather is proud to support this effort.