Fort Worth, Texas,
11:02 AM

Celebrating Global Handwashing Day!

Mary Suzanne Whitworth, M.D., medical director of Infectious Diseases at Cook Children's talks about Global Handwashing Day

Today is Global Handwashing Day, and thanks to the pandemic, this observation has never felt more imperative.

“It’s important to wash your hands before and after you eat, it’s important to wash your hands after you go to the bathroom,” said Mary Suzanne Whitworth, M.D., medical director of Infectious Diseases at Cook Children's. “Remember to do that with soap and water for 20 seconds. If you can’t use water, use hand gel.”

She adds handwashing is critical after you touch surfaces you share with other people.

“Handwashing with soap and water can prevent 1 in 3 people from getting sick with diarrhea and 1 in 5 people from getting a respiratory illness,” chief of the Waterborne Disease Prevention Branch of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Vincent Hill, said in an interview with CNN. "That is why handwashing is so important, especially at key times such as after using the bathroom, when preparing food, before eating, and after coughing, sneezing, or blowing your nose."

This year's theme of Global Handwashing Day, Hand Hygiene for All, calls for universal hand hygiene to beat the virus today and ensure better health outcomes beyond the pandemic.

"This day is an opportunity to design, test and replicate creative ways to encourage people to wash their hands with soap at critical times," the Global Handwashing Partnership noted. "After all, this simple behavior can save lives. For children, handwashing can cut diarrhea by almost one-half and acute respiratory infections by nearly one-quarter."

An easy way to help your children wash their hands properly is to pick a song to sing, like happy birthday, while they scrub.

“Keep yourselves safe. Help us prevent the spread of coronavirus that causes COVID disease and help us prevent the spread of influenza,” said Dr. Whitworth.

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