Hand washing is often cited as the primary weapon in infection control. Typical person's hand can carry 10,000 to 10 million bacteria. The experts point out that about 50% of child deaths, especially in developing countries, is preventable through hand washing habit. Dr. Dilşen Oktay, Lecturer at IUE Department of Culinary Arts and Management, stated that lives of thousands of children could be saved by frequent hand washing.
Oktay, who teaches Sanitation and Safety course, reminded that October 15 was observed as Global Hand Washing Day. “Death rate in children who washed their hands everyday was reduced by fifty percent. In fact, hand washing is important not only for children but for everyone. It takes at least 20 seconds to wash hands properly. A soap bar or liquid soap should be used to cover all hand surfaces, and hands should be rinsed under running water. Washing hands with water only does not keep the germs away,” said Oktay.
Oktay indicated that prevalence and incidence of epidemic illnesses such as flu would increase with the shift in season, and that it was possible to prevent inhalation disorders by washing hands frequently and properly.
Oktay said that in a research about hand washing habits of Europeans conducted in 2015, 94% of people in Turkey answered the question, “Do you wash your hands after using the bathroom?” affirmative. Oktay stated the following:
“We are in second place among all European countries with this answer. This is good news however; washing hands after using the bathroom only is not good enough. Hand washing also plays a major role in preventing flu pandemic. 80% infectious diseases are spread by hands. We strongly urge people to wash hands when they come home and especially before having meals. This way, it is possible to reduce the number of bacteria and viruses we are exposed to during the day”.