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Just dipping the hands in water or spraying some water on the palms is inadequate

Wednesday - October 17, 2018 4:53 pm , Category : OPINION & INTERVIEW
WTN- Even as the world celebrated Global Hand Washing Day on October 15, millions in India still don’t know the importance of hand washing and the way to correctly do it. No wonder, India is one of the leading countries in infant mortality rate with most children under 5 dying due to diarrhea and stomach ailments which are directly related to unhygienic living.
 
The pores of our hands contain millions of germs which are invisible to the naked eye. They accumulate and multiply fast all the time as we use our hands for various kinds of works throughout the day. Since the germs are not visible, most people don’t care and deem their hands to be clean even when they are in actuality dens of contamination.
 
Indian children are prone to have more contaminated hands due to dust and filth more easily found around and propensity of kids to play in them. They pick and handle different types of things with undiscerning abandon and the chemicals and germs from them settle in the pores and minute crevices of the hands. This is why it becomes very vital to make kids understand the importance of hand washing and teach them the practice early on to inculcate a lifelong habit of hygiene. 
 
The purpose of the day is precisely to inform, motivate and mobilize people to improve their hand washing habits. Unless adults know its importance and adopt the right practice, children won’t learn it. Hand washing is important at critical points in our daily chore like after using the toilet/washroom, before cooking food, before having one’s meal, after meal, after gardening or using the garage and after visiting a public place that involves use of the palms.
 
It is a surprising fact that despite being a religious country where cleanliness is given high importance, 60 per cent of people in India forget or ignore washing their hands before a meal and the figure is about 40 per cent for those who don’t wash their hands with soap after using the toilet. More shockingly, a WHO study recently found that 70 per cent health workers don’t follow the guidelines while washing their hands. Had they been more particular, several infections and deaths of infants and their mothers could be checked, it says.
 
As per the medical guidelines, just dipping the hands in water or spraying some water on the palms is inadequate and useless. The need is to wash thoroughly with a soap or alcohol-based sanitiser. When washed with soap, there should be adequate rubbing and scrubbing till there is ample forth. Every part of the palm area should be thoroughly rubbed and rinsed before drying them up using a clean towel. The interiors of our nails, knuckles and the space between the fingers need special attention for they efficiently hide microorganisms.
 
Doctors and health associates should teach kids and people in general through frequent workshops and camps in their colonies or societies the correct way to wash hands and how it is important to take care of sanitation needs. This will spread awareness and encourage a general culture of maintaining better hygiene in our day to day life, for dirty hands don’t only affect babies and maternal health but can also hit normal healthy adults through various infections.
-Window To News
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