Swacch Bharat, Swasth Bharat – let’s begin with hand washing.

Sanitation is one of the most important aspects of community well-being. It protects health, extends lifespans and accelerates economic development. Having said that, today in this modern age, it comes across as a shock that globally, diarrhea is the second leading cause of death in children under five years of age. It is not just children, poor sanitation exposes millions of men and women to a plethora of diseases that incapacitate them and mitigate their productivity.

Hygiene and prevention of disease is the need of the hour in a country like ours. It brings about an improvement in the general quality of life. Demand must be generated for sanitation facilities through awareness creation and sensitization. All schools and “anganwadis” in rural areas must have proper sanitation facilities and hygienic behavior should be promoted among students and teachers. All this can be made possible by encouraging cost-effective and appropriate technology development and application in sanitation. There should be an endeavor to reduce sanitation-related diseases.

Bacteria and viruses are everywhere around us and we have them inside our bodies too. We need some of these bacteria for the proper functioning of our system but some of these pathogens can wreck our bodies if they take over our immune system. As simple as it may sound, hand washing with soap is the most effective way of removing germs and harmful bacteria from entering our system. This can largely prevent many common and life-threatening infections including gastrointestinal infections, such as Salmonella, and respiratory infections, such as influenza. If neglected these can result in some serious complications, more so for young children, the elderly and those who have compromised immunity.

Hands should be washed with soap and water as it removes substantially more disease-causing pathogens than washing hands with water alone. Running warm water is best for hand washing as soap lathers better with warm water.

Hand washing is not just a means of personal hygiene, in fact, it is an important measure of infection control. Transmission of infectious diseases can be largely minimized by making sure that hands are cleaned:

1. After using the restroom
2. Before and after eating
3. Whenever hands get dirty and contaminated
4. After contact with animals or other person’s intact skin
5. After contact with body fluids
6. After contact with inanimate objects

These are probably few of the incidents but the list is inexhaustibly large and we can keep adding to it. The basic idea behind this list is that we must, by all means, reduce the potential transmission of disease-causing microorganisms from entering our system. Frequent hand washing should not be optional but it must be applied as a rule. Conclusively, In order to protect our health it is imperative that we wash our hands as often as necessary and as often as possible.


Kritee Agarwal

Kritee is an avid volunteer at Smile Foundation, studying in Class XI pursuing commerce with maths. She's a dreamer, travel enthusiast and music lover driven to make the most of life that she can.

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