May 5, 2020

If everyone routinely washed their hands, 1 million deaths could be prevented worldwide each year

Clean Hands CountHeld on May 5 each year, World Hand Hygiene Day is an annual observance that emphasizes the importance of handwashing in disease prevention. This year, May 5 has also been designated as  #GivingTuesdayNow, a new global day of giving and unity organized as an emergency response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The National Foundation for Infectious Diseases (NFID) has compiled resources to encourage everyone to wash their hands to help #StopTheSpread of #COVID-19 and other infectious diseases.

Handwashing is one of the best ways to protect yourself from #COVID-19 and other respiratory infections. But evidence suggests that most people do not know how to do properly wash hands to leave germs behind.

To raise awareness about this simple, but important public health intervention, NFID recently released a new animated #WashYourHands public service announcement—available in English and in Spanish. The short videos describe the five key steps of proper handwashing: wet, lather, scrub well, rinse, and dry thoroughly.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends washing your hands for at least 20 seconds, which is roughly the amount of time it takes to hum the Happy Birthday song  twice. If you prefer another tune, several media outlets including the Los Angeles Times and CNN have published hand-washing playlists featuring artists from Dolly Parton to Prince. And Wash Your Lyrics even allows you to generate handwashing infographics with the lyrics to your favorite songs.

Help spread the word by sharing these handwashing videos from NFID and partner organizations

If everyone routinely and thoroughly washed their hands, an estimated one million deaths each year could be prevented around the world.

Handwashing ResourcesCDC has developed comprehensive handwashing resources, including videos, printable fact sheets, and training materials for a range of audiences, including information about the science behind handwashing recommendations. GIANTmicrobes also offers a free handwashing infographic and has created a COVID-19 plush toy available for purchase, proceeds of which help support NFID and other non-profits that are working to support the pandemic response.

While a vaccine to prevent COVID-19 is not yet available, hand hygiene is a key prevention tool that is already in our hands! Share these resources to help spread the word—not disease.

To join the conversation and get the latest news on infectious diseases, follow NFID on Twitter, using the hashtag #WashYourHands, like us on Facebook, follow us on Instagram, join the NFID Linkedin Group, and subscribe to receive future NFID Updates. To support NFID educational initiatives, please make an online donation to NFID.