To the Editor:
Although Tuesday was officially “Global Handwashing Day,” the simple but effective practice of keeping our hands clean is one of the most effective day-in, day-out methods that can be used to ward off sickness.
Since 2001, more than 100 countries have joined to observe handwashing day as a way of making the public aware how important it is to frequently wash hands with soap. The Public-Private Partnership for Handwashing stresses that handwashing with soap is the most effective and inexpensive way to prevent diarrheal and acute respiratory infections — which take the lives of millions of children in developing countries each year.
Handwashing is no less important in the United States. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention list these occasions when we should wash our hands:
• Before, during and after preparing food.
• Before eating food.
• Before and after caring for someone who is sick.
• Before and after treating a cut or wound.
• After using the toilet.
• After changing diapers or cleaning up a child who has used the toilet.
• After blowing your nose, coughing for sneezing.
• After touching an animal, animal feed or animal waste.
• After touching garbage.
Fall and winter always have their share of influenza and respiratory illnesses. Getting a flu shot and following common-sense handwashing guidelines can go a long way toward warding off illness.