Friday, January 25, 2008
Handwashing Reduces Diarrhea
Here we are with fantastic technical advances of the 21st century and surprise! A new study shows that hand washing reduces episodes of diarrhea by 30%. Since diarrhea is caused by pathogens (read: germs) that get passed from human to human or human to food to human...hand washing interrupts this cycle.
What was interesting about this report is that hand washing was as effective in preventing diarrhea as is providing clean water to developing countries. The challenge is without clean water, how are people supposed to wash? The World Health Organization reports more than 3 million cases of diarrhea annually and more than 2.2 diarrheal deaths in low and middle-income countries. Access to clean water is something we take for granted but 2.6 billion people do not have access to adequate sanitation and over a billion do not have clean water to drink.
We are lucky to have fresh water. We are blessed to have easy access to sanitation. This study is a reminder of what is still possible, using simple techniques, to reduce illness and death.
Posted by Toni Brayer, MD at 6:05 PM