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National Handwashing Day

National Handwashing Day

Handwashing – the true hero in saving lives!

Ever had your face taken by your child’s little hands and had them say, “I love you”? Only to miss the joy of the moment because the warm, sticky, grit pressing into your face was distracting you, and you, instead, were using every atom of strength not to cringe?

Sometimes, unconditional love, can have some conditions.

National Handwashing Day. Not the most notable event of the calendar year, but the fact that someone went to the effort of registering it, should provide some thinking time for us all — and it’s actually a more notable day than you’d first think.

Besides the fact that dirty hands look … disturbing, and the idea of those obviously dirty hands going into a mouth is … nauseating; the true risks and consequences of poor hand hygiene can be quite alarming. It is a particularly common cause of respiratory illnesses and intestinal problems, including diarrhoea and intestinal worms. However, the rate of these goes down easily with the simple act of washing hands properly, with soap, before eating, after using the toilet or playing with animals, and even after waking up — kids play in their sleep too! Dirt and germs under fingernails is another risk factor. If a child has a scratch or bite and itch it with those little nails (speaking from heartbreaking experience), this can cause significant infections in the skin and the blood. Something kids aren’t adapt to fighting easily.

Proper hand washing practices may seem a bit over the top. But one glimpse of a child’s hands after doing an hour of — insert any activity here — should have anyone convinced that children need to intentionally wash their whole hands, including between their fingers, and right up to their wrists.

Need extra convincing? Recall what you child first did, after they last sneezed.

National handwashing Day, it’s not a party day. There won’t be a march down the main street, and no one will be pinning a ribbon to their chest. But it’s a friendly reminder that good handwashing practices is believed to have saved more lives than any vaccine. So, it’s another thing we need to teach our little people, but just as importantly, role model.

Here at The Green Elephant, staff teach children the best way to wash their hands to help keep them safe from germs.

 

By Deborah O’Ferry