Why Wash Hands

Clean Hands Count

Many diseases are spread by not washing hands with soap and clean, running water. ‘Bad’ germs — those microscopic bacteria, viruses, fungi and protozoa — can get on your hands and infect you with disease.

The current COVID-19 disease pandemic emphasizes the importance of proper handwashing to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2), as well as others from coronavirus family:

  • The common cold — there are millions of cases per year in US.
  • SARS-CoV — in the 2002-2003 outbreak, 8,098 were infected worldwide with 774 deaths.
  • MERS-CoV — from 2012-2019, MERS has infected 2,442 persons and killed 842 worldwide.

The flu is a top 10 leading cause of death in the US. During the 2019-2020 flu season (October to March), the CDC estimated

    • Up to 54 million reported illnesses,
    • 25 million medical visits 
    • 59,000 deaths, including children and adults. 

! Proper handwashing can cut respiratory infection by 24%, on average, and up to 44%.13 

Diarrheal Disease

Diarrheal diseases account for 1 in 9 child deaths worldwide, and kills over 2,000 children every day — more than AIDS, malaria and measles combined. In the US, diarrhea-related deaths are the second-leading cause of all infectious disease deaths.5

! Proper handwashing can reduce diarrheal disease-associated deaths by up to 50%.2

Washing your hands for 20-seconds is not simply washing viruses off your hands, but completely destroying them.
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