“It is health that is real wealth and not pieces of gold and silver.” – Mahatma Gandhi
If you’re a Mom, you’ve probably experienced at least one incidence of your baby having diarrhea, also known as loose stools. I’m sure you remember how it was – your little one feeling fatigued and you panicking about her getting enough fluids. Overall, it’s quite an unpleasant experience. Such incidents may be few and far in-between for most Moms, but diarrhea is in reality a serious condition. For adults, it can be dehydrating but for very young children, it can be life threatening.
As with everything, prevention is better than cure, and preventing diarrhea is possible by ensuring that you feed your child clean food and water, but most importantly by establishing the habit of washing hands. The Global Hygiene Council states that simply washing your hands with soap and clean water can reduce diarrhoeal deaths by 50%. More than 3 million children under the age of 5 years die from infectious diseases each year, with diarrhea alone being responsible for more than 2,000 deaths worldwide. And when we think that at least half those lives could be saved by the simple habit of hand washing, we realize how basic steps can make such a huge difference.
Facts about Handwashing
You’re probably wondering if such a fundamental practice still needs reminding. Here are a few facts that tell us a lot about the reality of hygiene practices like hand washing:
- 1 in 10 adults don’t wash their hands after using the toilet
- approximately 1 in 4 adults don’t wash their hands before eating
- 43% don’t wash their hands every time they sneeze or blow their nose
- more than 50% of adults don’t wash their hands after handling raw meat
These numbers only go on to show how far we have to go in terms of establishing such vital hygiene habits. As expected, kids wash their hands even less than adults. This means that we have a greater responsibility in ensuring that everyone in the family follows this practice religiously. This is why the Global Hygiene Council observes Global Handwashing Day on October 15th to spread more awareness, especially through social media.
As you share posts about hand washing across all social networks, don’t forget that all change starts from home! Adults need to wash their hands well before starting to prepare food or feed their kids. Always wash hands after handling raw meat, fish or eggs. Make sure that there is a soap bar or liquid soap accessible at all wash basins and in bathrooms at a level kids can reach. Tell them to wash their hands after using the toilet, playing outside and before eating or touching food. You can also check out the Kids Corner for lots of games and activities to get kids more interested in hand washing.
It’s incredible how a small act like washing your hands with soap can have such a big impact on health and well being, to the point of being a life-saver. The more we spread awareness about handwashing, the more people will benefit and the more lives we can save. So go head and scrub your hands clean!