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Vincent Iannelli, M.D.

Hand Hygiene Day - Save Lives: Clean Your Hands

By May 5, 2013

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Handwashing is Caring - Photo by Dana Robinson (CC BY-SA 2.0)Not to be confused with Global Handwashing Day, which was observed on October 15, today is Hand Hygiene Day, the World Health Organization's annual campaign to promote the message to Save Lives: Clean Your Hands.

So what is the difference between these two days? While they both promote handwashing, there are some differences, including that:

  • Global Handwashing Day has been observed for the past 5 years to promote handwashing for children and schools, but is now observed by over 200 million people in 100 countries to try and reduce diarrheal diseases and respiratory infections by encouraging people to wash their hands with soap and water.
  • Hand Hygiene Day similarly promotes handwashing to decrease infections, but targets health care-associated infections and the importance of hand hygiene in health care facilities, including hospitals, clinics, home-based care, and long-term care facilities.

This year, in observance of Hand Hygiene Day, learn to do your part to prevent hospital infections. Whether you are a patient or a visitor, watch the Hand Hygiene Saves Lives video from the CDC and learn the importance of practicing hand hygiene while in the hospital to prevent infections. The video also teaches that "it is appropriate to ask or remind their healthcare providers to practice hand hygiene as well."

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CDC - Global Handwashing Day
WHO - Clean Care is Safer Care
CDC - Hand Hygiene Saves Lives
How to Wash your Hands Properly

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