Hand hygiene protects and saves lives

Since 2009, the International Day of Hand Hygiene on 5 May has been a reminder of the importance of regular hand washing to protect against infectious diseases.


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5 May 2021

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), more than 80% of infectious diseases such as COVID19, gastrointestinal diseases, colds or influenza are transmitted via the hands. The germs are not only passed on in direct contact with other people, but also via objects such as light switches or door handles. Depending on their structure, flu viruses, for example, remain active on surfaces for up to 48 hours.

In view of the many objects we touch every day, protection against infectious diseases seems costly. But the opposite is true. Most viruses and bacteria can be washed away by thorough hand hygiene with soap, water and a clean disposable towel. If you also take care to avoid touching your face, nose, mouth and eyes with your hands, the risk of infection is further reduced.

The spread of the coronavirus can also be contained with thorough hand hygiene. This is because the coronavirus also has a fatty envelope that is destroyed by soap. Without this protective shell, the virus can no longer reproduce.

With the International Day of Hand Hygiene on 5 May, the World Health Organisation (WHO) reminds us once a year of the importance of regular and thorough hand washing. The date was chosen deliberately and symbolises the two times five fingers of the human hand.

In view of the continuing rise in the number of COVID19 infections, CWS is not only using this day of action to raise awareness for thorough hand hygiene.