The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is urging the country to observe the fifth annual Global Handwashing Day today, Oct. 15. The CDC hopes to increase awareness and understanding of handwashing with soap as an effective and affordable method of preventing disease around the world.
“Handwashing with soap has an important role to play in child survival and health,” according to the agency.
About 2.2 million children five years old and younger die each year from diarrheal diseases or pneumonia, the top two killers of young children worldwide. Regular washing with soap can reduce the incidence of diarrhea by 30 precent and the incidence of respiratory infections by 21 percent in this group.
People around the world clean their hands with water, but very few use soap to wash their hands, the CDC reports. Learn more about Global Handwashing Day at http://www.cdc.gov/features/globalhandwashing and learn about general handwashing at http://www.cdc.gov/handwashing and http://www.cdc.gov/healthywater/hygiene/index.html.