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General Health : Lifestyle Last Updated: Apr 20, 2011 - 9:38:09 AM

Hand washing saves millions of lives
By Ben Wasserman
Oct 15, 2008 - 9:24:00 PM

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The United Nations (UN) set Oct 15, 2008 as the first International Hand Washing Day to raise awareness of the importance of hand washing in more than 120 million children in 70 countries across five continents.


Simple hand washing with soap and water can save millions of children's lives, the U.N. Children's Fund was cited by VOA News as saying.  


Diarrhea kills 2 million children worldwide each year with about 500,000 in West and central Africa, UNICEF Spokeswoman, Veronique Taveau was cited as saying.


The deaths before age 5 can be halved if children simply wash their hands after going to the toilet.


Pneumonia kills about 2 million lives each year and is the number one cause of death in children under the age of five years.   Simply washing hands with soap and water could reduce the deaths and other respiratory infections by 23 percent.


Carolien Van Der Voorden part of the campaign organization said washing hands with soap and water is the most effective way to protect against disease.


Studies showed there has been no shortage of soap in most households, but the problem is that people do not use it often because it costs money. So soap is often saved for special visitors to do the washing, but not to do hand washing, she was cited by VOA News as saying.


UNICEF said thousands of children will participate in the International Hand Washing Day campaigns to encourage hand washing in 13 countries across West and central Africa.


Hand washing is not promoted enough in the United States where adults and children use dirty hands to serve themselves foods all the time.   In school, teachers practice good hygiene, but it does not seem they teach school children to practice a good hygiene.   When they see a child sticks his fingers in the mouth, they would simply call the child as one normal kid.


Hands can not only get bacteria and viruses, but also lots of chemical contaminants.   How many people wash their hands after they use a computer and before eating a meal? How many people ever think of the flame retardants in carpets before they sit down on the floor?  

© 2004-2008 by unless otherwise specified

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