8 Things moms must know about germs and handwashing
Find out why washing your hands with soap is the very best thing you can do to protect your family from both common and fatal diseases.
Celebrating the 8th run of Global Handwashing Day, Proctor & Gamble (P&G) through its flagship soap brand, Safeguard, UNICEF, the Department of Education, and the Department of Health, joined forces to continue raising awareness on the importance of handwashing with soap. Here, they share with us eight key reminders for moms, who arguably play the most active role in keeping our children clean and healthy.
1. Handwashing with soap can save your child’s life.
“Diarrhea and pneumonia are the top causes of child death in the Philippines,” shares Ms. Louise Maule, Chief of the UNICEF Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) Program. According to the World Health Organization, there are approximately 13 child deaths from diarrhea each day – that’s almost 5,000 a year! National statistics also indicate that about 37 kids under 5 years of age die from pneumonia daily. Ms. Maule shares that handwashing with soap – especially before/after eating and playing – “cuts the incidence of diarrhea by half and pneumonia by a third.” It’s a simple, cheap, and effective way to protect your family.
2. Washing with just water is common but does very little
In some parts of the world, handwashing with just water is very common. This is done before the meal because they don’t want the soap’s fragrance to interfere with their dining experience, then wash with soap after to get rid of the food smell. What they don’t know is that washing with water alone does very little to disinfect.
3. Germs are EVERYWHERE.
Even if you keep your home spick-and-span, other people don’t hold themselves to the same hygiene standard. In the Philippine Nutrition Facts and Figures 2011 study by FNRI-DOST, less than half of the moms (only 45%) washed their hands after going to the toilet and before preparing food (46%), and less than a third (30%) wash their hands after attending to a child who defecated! So unless you wear gloves the whole day, you’re bound to touch the same things they do – the ATM, door handles, grocery carts, elevator buttons — the list goes on. So, it is very important to prevent yourself from germs and handwashing is an effective way for the same.
4. Alcohol is good, but soap is best.
Alcohol is convenient for when you’re on-the-go, but in the long term can dry out skin and leave little lesions where germs can get in. So for home use, soap is still your best bet.
5. For new moms, it’s the best thing you can do to protect your baby.
Newborns are susceptible to so many diseases, that’s why it’s extra important for new moms to wash their hands when they handle and feed baby.
Click next for a great tip to develop the habit in your little ones.
6. It only takes 30 seconds.
“The global guideline” Ms. Maule explains, is to simply “wet, lather [for 20 seconds – just sing the birthday song twice!] and rinse.” You don’t need to scrub like a surgeon prepping for an operation; what’s important is developing the habit of proper hand washing – this applies to both grown-ups and kids.
7. You can easily build the habit by doing it as a family
Ms. Maule shares that “teaching proper hand washing in schools and daycare can reduce diarrhea up to 30%.” In these settings, they do it in groups and teach it everyday until it’s automatic and kids don’t even question why they’re doing it anymore. “It’s this routine we need to instill in our children,” she stresses. Turn handwashing into a family activity at home – before eating, after playing with pets, before handling food, after taking your child to the toilet – so you can keep your loved ones healthy and protected, even when they’re not at home.
8. “Keeping people healthy is a team effort”
This nugget of truth was shared by Mr. Shankar Viswanathan, General Manager of Proctor & Gamble Philippines – and boy, do moms know it! Family members, helpers, schools, private organizations, and even the government all have a hand in keeping our children healthy. As Safeguard approaches 50 years in the Philippines, Mr. Viswanathan shares that the brand is ever more “committed to promote health and hygiene among Filipino families – particularly in communities that need help the most.” Safeguard now has improved Triple Shield technology that protects against common disease-causing bacteria, infectious ones, and fungi, thereby providing superior germ protection.
Wash hands, save lives. Keep your family protected, clean, healthy, and happy. It only takes 30 seconds, mommies!
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