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National Handwashing Awareness Week: December 1-7, 2021

National Handwashing Awareness Week: December 1-7, 2021

December 1, 2021

The first week of December (1-7) is National Handwashing Awareness Week. This week promotes both individual cleanliness and healthy living from where it starts: our hands. Per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”), keeping hands clean is one of the best steps against illness and the spread of germs. With the coming influenza season and COVID-19 still very much around us, it is best to take necessary precautions to keep yourself and others safe. Information from various studies have shown that everybody should wash their hands for at least 20 seconds when doing so. You can easily remember how long to wash your hands simply by humming the “Happy Birthday” tune to yourself twice.

Microbes can also spread effectively in workplaces where employees may share common spaces and supplies. The CDC suggests washing hands frequently, particularly during occasions when you are probably going to pick up and spread germs. In working environments, these occasions are prior to having lunch or preparing food, after using the restroom, and after cleaning out your nose, coughing, or sniffling. It is also a good idea to disinfect your workspace, as supplies such as your keyboard and desk phone can become dirty and contaminated from continuous use.

5 Facts about Hand Hygiene

  1. According to the CDC, handwashing can prevent 1 in 3 diarrhea-related illnesses and 1 in 5 infections, including the flu.
  2. About 1.4 million children under age 5 die from diarrheal disease and pneumonia—the two most deadly afflictions for children worldwide.
  3. The CDC reports that only 31 percent of men and 65 percent of women wash their hands after using a public restroom.
  4. 80% of communicable diseases can be transferred by touch (person-to-person contact).
  5. A typical sneeze exits the body at about 200 miles per hour and emits around 40,000 droplets into the air.

[WATCH: MSK’s Bill Piersol talks to Janet Eagan to get a tutorial on how to scrub your hands.]

During the COVID‐19 pandemic, handwashing has gotten extensive consideration. It is a basic, essential preventive measure that the vast majority can do easily. Handwashing with soap and water for 20 seconds, or using alcohol‐based hand sanitizers when soap and water are not available, is the first and most viable defense against the spread of disease.