October 19, 2018

Celebrate World Handwashing Day By Singing Happy Birthday, Twice

Today is World Handwashing Day and one of the best ways to celebrate is to wash your hands with soap and running water for as long as it takes you to sing Happy Birthday, twice.

Washing handsGlobal Handwashing Day was originally created for school-age children but has expanded to include teaching everyone about one of the best ways to prevent the spread of disease. “Turning handwashing with soap before eating and after using the toilet into an ingrained habit could save more lives than any single vaccine or medical intervention, cutting deaths from diarrhea by almost half and deaths from acute respiratory infections by one-quarter,” according to the Global Public-Private Partnership for Handwashing (GPPPH).

Handwashing with soap  and water  is the most effective and inexpensive way to prevent diarrheal and respiratory illness. Poor handwashing by a food handling is often the source of food poisoning.

For example, norovirus, a highly contagious virus that affects about 20 million Americans each year, is the source of 65 percent of food poisoning outbreaks each year.  And, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), most norovirus outbreaks are caused by an infected food worker.

But norovirus is just one of the germs that can be spread by lack of good handwashing. A single gram of human feces can contain 10 million viruses and one million bacteria, including E.coli, Salmonella, Shigella and Campylobacter, according to GPPPH.

One way to make sure you are doing a thorough job of washing your hands is to lather the backs and palms of your hands using soap and running water for as long as it takes to sing Happy Birthday, twice. Stay tuned for suggestions on how to celebrate World Toilet Day, November 19.

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