Global Handwashing Day

Global Handwashing Day reminds us of the importance of practicing good hand hygiene to prevent the transmission of germs causing infections. For instance, people can become infected with respiratory illnesses such as influenza or the common cold if they don’t wash their hands before touching their eyes, nose, or mouth. Also infections occur when antibiotic-resistant bacteria find its way through our bodies by moving from unclean hands to a wound, and thus an antibiotic that used to work for a certain type of infection, no longer works.

Hand hygiene is important for everyone, particularly people who work in the medical field. If you work in the medical field, remember to wash your hands:

  • Before touching a patient ( e.g. performing an examination)
  • Before a clean/aseptic procedure (e.g. insertion of IV line)
  • After exposure to any body fluids (e.g. blood)
  • After touching a patient (e.g. helping him/her to move) or his/her surroundings

In general, you should wash your hands:

Before After
Preparing food or eating Preparing food, especially raw meat or poultry


Treating wounds Using the toilet or changing a diaper


Giving medicine Touching an animal or animal toys, leashes or waste
Caring for a sick or injured person Handling garbage, household or garden chemicals.
Inserting or removing contact lenses Shaking hands with others

Sneezing or coughing


What is the right way to wash your hands?

Hand washing takes 15 seconds and covers all hand surfaces, thumbs, fingers, and the spaces in between them. All jewelry and watches should be removed to avoid microbial growth. Nails should be kept clean and well-trimmed.

  • Open the faucet
  • Soak the hands with lukewarm water
  • Use enough soap
  • While keeping your fingers interlocked, rub the palm of each hand against the back of the other
  • Rub the fingers against the palm of each hand
  • Rub the thumbs in a circular way
  • Rinse your hands thoroughly with water
  • Dry your hands thoroughly
  • Close the faucet using a dry paper towel