The ritual of hand washing has been with us for thousands of years. It's done in nearly every religion--Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Shintoism--as a form of purification. It's also seen in some modern wedding ceremonies, but washing your hands for health reasons didn't come into play until the mid 19th century with health pioneers Ignaz Semmelweis and Florence Nightingale.
Washing your hands with soap (*preferably handmade) before eating, after a trip to the bathroom and whenever they're dirty helps prevent the spread of everything from the flu to TB.
|1.4 million deaths a year can be prevented|
by hand washing with soap.
Most of us take washing our hands for granted. We head to the sink and lather up. But there're many places in the world--particularly developing countries--where clean water is scarce and a bar of soap is an unaffordable luxury.
That's why Global Handwashing Day (organized by UNICEF, Proctor and Gamble, The State University of Buffalo and USAID to name a few) was started. The day is not only about education, but about getting sinks and tippy tips built in areas that need them. And of course, getting soap into dirty hands.
What can you do to help? You'll find oodles of info from The Global Public-Private Partnership for Handwashing and Global Soap. And if you're a soap maker and want to do something on a grassroots level, why not drop off a batch of soap to your local homeless shelter?
* That's my opinion there. Obviously, store bought soap is OK--but 'anti-bacterial' soap might not be as effective as it's advertised to be.