Global Handwashing Day 2021: A Healthy Future at Our Fingertips

By the bioMérieux Connection Editors

Founded in 2008 by the Global Handwashing Partnership, Global Handwashing Day serves as an opportunity to highlight the importance of handwashing with soap and running water. The day is recognized annually on October 15 to encourage action, raise awareness, and remind the public of the impact handwashing has on personal and community-wide health. The theme of this year’s event is, “Our Future is at Hand—Let’s Move Forward Together”, with the goal of universal hand hygiene.

Although the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic continues to emphasize the importance of handwashing in order to stop the spread of germs and infectious diseases, over 2.3 billion people still lack access to a basic handwashing facility. Raising awareness of this fact and the health benefits of handwashing can help cultivate global action that brings equitable handwashing access to all.

Clean Hands Save Lives

Handwashing is one of the easiest, least expensive, and most important steps in stopping the spread of germs that make people sick. It is especially important at critical times, such as when preparing food, before and after treating a cut or wound, after using the restroom, and after coughing, sneezing, or blowing your nose. Proper handwashing is also imperative in all healthcare settings to prevent the spread of deadly infections and germs to patients and healthcare providers.

By properly washing hands with soap and running water, the spread of respiratory and diarrheal infections can be minimized, and handwashing can drastically reduce the number of young children who become ill. According to the CDC, community handwashing education can reduce the number of those who get sick with diarrhea by 23-40%, and can reduce general respiratory illnesses, like the common cold, by 16-21%.

Handwashing is always important to staying healthy, but the evolving COVID-19 pandemic highlights conversations of handwashing and disease transmission. To stop the spread of COVID-19, washing your hands is essential and should be done before and after touching eyes, nose or mouth, face mask, communal surfaces, and before and after entering or leaving a public area. When washing hands with soap and running water is not an option, use an alcohol-based sanitizer that contains 60% alcohol or higher.

Get Involved and Promote Hand Hygiene

Handwashing promotes health, and everyone deserves access to basic handwashing facilities. Join in the conversation this Global Handwashing Day and help raise awareness of the importance of handwashing with soap and running water at critical times, all year long.

Ways to get involved:

The need to spread essential handwashing information extends far beyond the reach of one day a year. To learn how you can go “BEYOND Global Handwashing Day” and continue to raise awareness, click here.


Opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those of bioMérieux, Inc.

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