As we observe physical distancing and good hygiene habits amid the pandemic, we are constantly reminded that the simple practice of handwashing with soap and clean water is also one of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of germs and viruses. But did you know there are still a lot to learn about washing our hands?
- Soap and clean water go hand-in-hand. What makes handwashing effective is that it mechanically removes the germs from our skin. Washing our hands with water may rinse dirt away, but germs are so tiny that they need soap to work its magic. This is because scrubbing with soap for at least 20 seconds will allow its molecules to penetrate and break down bacteria and viruses, including the coronavirus.
- Don’t miss your fingertips! World Health Organization (WHO) mentions that the thumbs, fingertips, and spaces between fingers are the areas frequently missed during handwashing. That is why it is important to keep our fingernails short and ensure that the bacteria that thrive underneath are removed.
- Sanitizers may not be as effective with visibly dirty hands. Hand sanitizers with at least 60% alcohol can help you avoid getting sick and spreading germs to others. However, if hands are visibly greasy or soiled—like after changing tires or working in the garden—these may not work well, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Handwashing with soap and water are more recommended in such instances.
- It’s best to wash hands using clean, running water. CDC also recommends using running water as hands could be contaminated if placed in old standing water. After wetting hands, it is also important to turn off the faucet to conserve water.
- Teaching others about handwashing will help you and your community stay healthy. Studies show that handwashing education in the community reduces respiratory illnesses like colds by 16-21%. Taking part in educational sessions and celebrations such as the Global Handwashing Day every October 15 can go a long way!
Celebrating Global Handwashing Day with Manila Water Foundation
Since 2013, Manila Water Foundation (MWF) has been leading the celebration of Global Handwashing Day in the Philippines. This 2020, MWF hosted a virtual fete of the Global Handwashing Day—live with radio personality and host Gino Quillamor! A series of games, messages, and handwashing demos were broadcast live on the day.
One of the contests launched during the GHD is the #SafeWASH in partnership with P&G Phililippines. MWF would like to congratulate the following winners: