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10 Diseases That Handwashing Can Keep at Bay

In a world teeming with unseen threats, the simplest of acts can be our greatest defense. One such act is handwashing, a practice often overlooked but that holds great power in the fight against diseases. We touch surfaces, people, animals, and food, unknowingly collecting these harmful microorganisms. In fact, neglecting hand hygiene contributes to 80% of common infections –  from common colds to the formidable coronavirus, maintaining clean hands is a crucial step towards a healthier life.

The Diseases Hand Washing Can Protect You From
  1. Hand-Foot-and-Mouth Disease: This viral infection, actively looming in daycares and preschools, results in sores in the mouth and throat, along with a rash on the hands and feet. Not only kids, pregnant women are even more susceptible to HFMD as this may lead to experiencing miscarriage, stillbirth or severe disease in the newborn with multiorgan failure. This is exactly why you should be washing your hands regularly and teaching your kids to do the same. (Encourage them to keep their hands out of their mouths, while you’re at it.)

  2. Staph Infection: Staphylococcus bacteria, commonly found on the skin and in noses, can lead to life-threatening infections if they enter your bloodstream. If you wash your hands, you will lessen the risk of these bacteria being transmitted from person to person.

  3. RSV (Respiratory Syncytial Virus): Widespread among children, RSV causes severe respiratory issues and can be fatal. It affects around 64 million people and causes 160,000 deaths each year.

  4. Coronavirus (COVID-19): Washing hands properly is a frontline defense for the battle against COVID-19. This illness can lead to severe respiratory problems and even death, making handwashing a life-saving practice.

  5. Norovirus: Hand sanitizers do nothing to kill this virus but a good, old-fashioned hand washing does! It can help to prevent the outbreak of this assorted gastrointestinal misery.

  6. Influenza (Flu): Regular handwashing is key in preventing the spread of the flu, especially when exposed to the virus inadvertently.

  7. Pink Eye (Conjunctivitis): Touching your eyes when they itch due to pink eye can lead to its spread. Handwashing is vital, especially for children who often explore the world through touch.

  8. Salmonellosis: Salmonella bacteria, often found in raw meat and eggs, can lead to severe illness when hands are not washed after handling these foods.

  9. E. coli: This bacteria can be transmitted through contact with an infected person or animal. Washing hands effectively is essential.

  10. Common Cold: Although not as grave as these other illnesses, a common cold can still bring about misery and disrupt your entire week. A study has shown that proper handwashing can significantly reduce your chances of contracting a respiratory illness by a whopping 45 percent.

Simply put, hand washing is just a small action that leads to giant ripples when it comes to safeguarding your health and the well-being of those around you. So remember, the next time you wash your hands, you're not just cleansing your skin; you're breaking the chain of infection.

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