Handwashing with soap and water is one of the most effective and economical ways to prevent gastrointestinal and respiratory diseases. On October 15, World Handwashing Day was celebrated, which aims to make this hygienic practice a habit in schools, homes and communities around the world.

World Handwashing Day is promoted internationally by a coalition of public, private and non-profit organizations, the Global Handwashing Day Public Private Partnership, in order to sensitize and disseminate a key hygienic practice in promoting health and in the prevention of diarrheal diseases and pneumonia, which together are responsible for the majority of infant deaths worldwide.

Rooting the practice of handwashing with soap before eating and preparing food and after using the toilet could save more lives than any vaccine or medical intervention, reduce deaths from diarrhea by almost half and avoid a quarter of deaths from infections Acute respiratory worldwide.

In Spain, World Handwashing Day is organized by an open group of entities, non-profit organizations and companies, which follow the example of the international initiative.

The challenge is that handwashing with soap becomes an automatic and frequent behavior in schools, homes, workplaces and other living spaces, since, also in developed countries with adequate sanitary structures, it is a basic habit to prevent diseases.

As in other countries around us, handwashing with soap and water can be considered a practice of such elementary hygiene that is taken for granted. However, it is still a practice that is not always carried out in the so-called critical moments or the impact that it has, for example, to avoid the spread of acute respiratory infections (flu, bronchiolitis, etc.) of a seasonal nature is unknown or minimized. Like other diseases.

Critical moments when handwashing with soap is necessary would include among others: after going to the toilet, before eating, before handling food, after using public transportation or being in contact with a sick person.

Performance in schools

Any person can promote in their family environment, at work or socially hand washing, but it is in schools where they can influence more, helping children to grow up already with the acquired habit. To facilitate this, the campaign’s promoter group offers information on its website about how, when and why it is necessary to wash your hands with soap in various environments, including schools and nurseries.

Before eating all children should go to wash their hands. Accompanying them when they are very young when washing hands is important and a great time for them to learn to wash their hands with soap and water properly. Similarly, handwashing with soap and water is essential after going to the toilet.

To help promote hand washing in the centers, the organization warns about the following circumstances:

– Dirty bathrooms and sinks in poor conditions do not invite their use, so the first thing is that everyone in the center collaborates to the best of their ability to be clean and pleasant.

– The center must monitor these conditions so that they are correct: existence of soap, washbasins that are easy to access to the smallest (at their height), air drying systems or paper that are more recommended in collective places where towels are less hygienic of cloth, etc.

– Maintenance is important, but it is not only a matter of the center and, in that sense, children should be encouraged to collaborate and leave the bathroom in good condition, just as they would like to find it.

– It is proposed to do clean-handed contests between boys and girls when they are young, teaching them to wash their hands as if it were a game and to leave the bathroom clean and in order also as a challenge between different classes and groups.
– Children can be explained why our hands are son the transport ’through which germs, viruses and bacteria that transmit diseases can travel and how hand washing with soap and water prevents it.

– In the winter season when the flu and bronchiolitis are more frequent, we must promote a more common hand washing and teach children to do it and remind them when they put their hands to their mouths when they sneeze, cough, etc.

– It is also important to teach them how in other countries access to running water and soap makes hand washing difficult and to make them aware of the importance of this and sensitive.