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Clean hands save lives

Handwashing is a cornerstone of public health. Keeping hands clean is one of the most important steps we can take to avoid getting sick and spreading germs to others. Here are three important facts you should know about handwashing.


§ Washing hands with water alone, a common practice around the world, is significantly less effective than washing hands with soap.

§ Proper handwashing requires soap and only a small amount of water.

§ Using soap works by breaking down the grease and dirt that carry most germs, facilitating the rubbing and friction that dislodge them and leaving hands smelling pleasant.

§ With proper use, all soaps are equally effective at rinsing away disease-causing germs.


§ Handwashing with soap is among the most effective ways to prevent diarrheal diseases and pneumonia, which together are responsible for the majority of child deaths.

§ Handwashing can also prevent skin infections, eye infections, intestinal worms, SARS and Avian Flu, and benefits the health of people living with HIV.

§ Handwashing is effective in preventing the spread of disease even in overcrowded, highly contaminated slum environments, research shows.


§ Hands are the principal carriers of disease-causing germs.

§ Hands should be washed with soap before preparing or eating food as well as before and after treating a cut or wound.

§ Hands should also be washed with soap after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing; after using the toilet, after changing diapers as well as after cleaning a child’s bottom.

§ Hands should also be washed with soap after handling garbage, an animal or animal waste.

§ It is important to ensure that you wash your hands at these critical moments.

§ Remember: If soap and water are not available, use alcohol-based gel to clean hands.


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Report: Raising clean hands


"Wash Your Hands"



The Wiggles urge kids to "wash their hands"
  View
(0:58 mins).

Global Handwashing Day



          15 October


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  • Official Website
  • Planner’s Guide

World Water Day 2010


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