Home Health Washing hands with soap reduces risk of acute respiratory and diarrhea

Washing hands with soap reduces risk of acute respiratory and diarrhea

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Washing hands with soap is highly recommended not only after visiting toilets but also other times to reduce germ contact.

Soap enhances elimination of dirt and grease especially for the hands that captures most of the manual jobs: Photo / Courtesy

We use our hands to do almost everything including eating. It is, therefore, important to keep them free from germs and bacteria causing sicknesses.

Global hand washing day
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Last year, during the global hand washing day celebrations, it was noted in Narok County, that failing to wash hands with soap was attributed to high risk of diarrhea and acute respiratory infections (ARI).

At the same time, the County public health officer in charge of disease surveillance, Mr. Edward Tankoi noted that half of these diseases can be prevented through clean hands.

He revealed that 68, 344 cases of ARI and 71, 801 cases of diarrhea were reported in 2016 among children and adults in the County.

This, he adds, could have been avoided if proper hand washing hygiene was embraced.

From this figure, it is clear that many counties in the country including Narok have not fully embraced the healthy idea and, on that note, more grassroots campaigns are required to sensitize the issues.

Using soaps

Soap enhances elimination of dirt and grease especially for the hands that captures most of the manual jobs.

Health experts encourage taking a minimum of two minutes to ensure all the parts of the hand is clean rather than rushing, leaving out part of the dirt on the surface.

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Alternatively, if getting a soap is expensive, a mixture of water and ash can do.

Furthermore, cleaning hands using running water shouldn’t be left out.

A habit which health professionals discourage is using basin when washing hands.

Running water

With the basin, the germs will likely stagnate in the container and fail to disappear completely. Running water, on the hand, sweep away the germs.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), soap hand washing is extremely effective and the most inexpensive way to prevent diarrhea and acute respiratory infections (ARI).

WHO further estimates that washing hands with soap reduces incident of diarrhea by 30 per cent and respiratory infections by 21 per cent in children under the age of five.

Parents should be at the forefront in ensuring that children develop the habit of washing hands with soap to lessen the peril of contracting infections.

On a lighter note, apart from health complications, preventing infection causing germs reduces expenses on medication and consultation.

Ultimately, after washing the hands sparkling clean with soap one should dry them using a clean towel.

By Joseph Macharia

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