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Can Handwashing with soap be more effective than any Vaccine?

Handwashing with soap seem so basic and simple. It involves five simple and effective steps (Wet, Lather, Scrub, Rinse, Dry).

Regular handwashing, particularly before and after certain activities, is one of the best ways to remove germs, avoid getting sick, and prevent the spread of germs to others (reduce the spread of diarrheal and respiratory illness).

As already said, it’s quick, it’s simple, and it can keep us all from getting sick. Handwashing is a win for everyone, except the germs.

Nigeria’s Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Adewole, has said that handwashing with soap can prevent transmission of variety of pathogens, as it may be more effective than any vaccine or hygiene practice.

This was made known in a speech presented at Dettol’s 2018 Global Handwashing Day event organised by Reckitt Benckiser (RB), in Abuja. He expressed appreciation to the efforts of the company in promoting good hygiene practices in Nigeria.

The minister, represented by Mr. Fubara Chuku, National coordinator, Food Safety and Quality Programme at the ministry, said: “This is a demonstration of your commitment to the cause of reducing disease transmission in the country and meeting the SDGs target.”

Since its inception a decade ago, communities and leaders worldwide have used the Global Handwashing Day, held on October 15, to echo and reinforce the call for improved hygiene practices.

General manager, RB West Africa, Mr. Dayanand Sriram, said:

“We believe that it is important to inculcate good habits such as proper handwashing at an early age.

A simple act of washing the hands with soap can prevent illnesses and arrest diarrhea-related deaths. This is why we are continuing with the tradition of driving habit change, and provision of needed infrastructure.”

Why Hand Washing is more effective than Vaccine.

 The CDC outline some key actions on good hygiene practice using handwashing techniques.

Handwashing is more effective than vaccine for different reasons;

  1. It is a simple, basic process that can be thought to everyone, schooled or unlettered.
  2. It requires just a few tools to carry out, which are easily accessible and readily available – soap, running water, clean towel.
  3. Handwashing can be spontaneously, regularly, at anytime or place.
  4. It is not an invasive procedure… unlike the process of vaccination.

When Should You Wash Your Hand?

  • 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, or sneezing
  • After touching an animal, animal feed, or animal waste
  • After handling pet food or pet treats
  • After touching garbage

How Should You Wash Your Hand?

  • Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap, and apply soap.
  • Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Be sure to lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
  • Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice.
  • Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.
  • Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.

If there is no soap or running water, what you should do…

Washing hands with soap and water is the best way to reduce the number of germs on them in most situations. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers can quickly reduce the number of germs on hands in some situations, but sanitizers do not eliminate all types of germs and might not remove harmful chemicals.

Hand sanitizers are not as effective when hands are visibly dirty or greasy.

How do you use hand sanitizers?

  • Apply the product to the palm of one hand (read the label to learn the correct amount).
  • Rub your hands together.
  • Rub the product over all surfaces of your hands and fingers until your hands are dry.

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Dr E
The Admin is a Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria Certified Medical Doctor, with profound expertise in Medical Content Creation and Medical Citizen Journalism. He is popular for being a fast-rising online voice in Nigeria, with a flair for animated writing. He is a professional health content writer. He loves to swim, read and play board games. He sees himself as one who is destined to play a role in the way health services are rendered to the human race.
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