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October 15, 2018 is Global Handwashing Day

Nurses Article   (1,874 Views 0 Replies 636 Words)

Brenda F. Johnson has 25 years experience as a BSN and specializes in Gastrointestinal Nursing.

5 Followers; 73 Articles; 104,534 Visitors; 251 Posts


No matter what type of nursing you do, or what position you fill, handwashing and infection control are very important. October 15, 2018 is Global Handwashing Day. So wash your hands and read on to find out exactly what that means.

October 15, 2018 is Global Handwashing Day

For us in the medical field, handwashing is second nature. We wash our hands before assessing a patient, and then again after. We understand how vital it is not to pass germs from patient to patient or surface to surface. Most Americans also share our understanding about the importance of handwashing. However, there is a large part of the population that does not share our understanding. The Global Handwashing Partnership has put out some information and goals for worldwide education regarding handwashing. The global advocacy group has created some simple reminders for families across the world to help them remember when is the most important times to wash their hands with soap. Their logo for this year is, "Clean hands - A recipe for health". Their goal is to link food preparation and eating with washing hands with soap. Preventing the spread of disease and improving how people prepare food will prevent the spread of disease and improve their children's health, even save their lives. In low income homes, food preparation has shown to be one of the largest problem with almost 70 percent of diarrhea resulting from inadequate food preparation. This is especially the case in children under the age of five. However, pregnant women, those who have compromised immune systems and even the unborn are also at risk.The Global Handwashing Partnership has defined critical times to wash hands in their initiative in relation to food:

  • Before cooking/preparing food
  • Before eating and feeding someone /includes breastfeeding

Those who fall into a caregiver role are to be the responsible example. By washing our hands at the most critical times, we will create habits for ourselves and those around us. By washing hands and our food better, diarrhea will be decreased especially in the very young. Diarrhea as we know can not only cause malabsorption, but death. When children do not get proper nutrition, in their first few years of life, they can have issues with growing. Their brain growth could be stunted and their immune system compromised, which they cannot make up for, the damage is permanent. If these children can be taught to wash their hands with soap and water, then their diarrhea can be greatly decreased and then as a result their risk for underdevelopment will be too.

Chronic environmental enteric dysfunction is caused by fecal contaminated food. The body can't absorb nutrients because it is too busy fighting off disease. Plus, these kids don't eat when they feel so sick which makes them more susceptible to future disease and recurrent diarrhea.

Here's more information on this organization and what resources they offer. They have tools and materials that you can use. Taken from their website, here are some ways that you can make a difference today.

*wash your hands with soap at critical times -before eating, cooking, or feeding others

*model good handwashing behavior

*make handwashing part of family meals

*establish places to wash your hands in the house, community, school, and health facility

*promote effective handwashing behavior change in research, programs, and advocacy

When you are busy at work and are tempted to skip washing your hands, remember how important it is and take the time to do it for you and your patient's. We often forget how many surfaces we come in contact with and who made contact with that surface before you. Just because we can't see them, bacteria and viruses can live on surfaces for a very long time. If you are part of an advocacy group that educates on handwashing, tell us what you do and what a difference it has made in your world.

5 Followers; 73 Articles; 104,534 Visitors; 251 Posts

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