May 5th is Hand Hygiene Day: Why Clean Hands Matter

Hand Hygiene Day is observed every year on May 5th led by the World Health Organization. This day is dedicated to raising awareness about the importance of clean hands and to promote good hand hygiene practices.

History of Hand Hygiene

The concept of hand hygiene can be traced back to the ancient Greeks and Romans, who recognized the importance of clean hands in preventing the spread of disease. However, it was not until the 19th century that hand hygiene became a widely accepted practice in medical settings.

In 1846, Hungarian physician Ignaz Semmelweis observed that the mortality rate in maternity wards was much higher among women attended by physicians and medical students than those attended by midwives. He discovered that the doctors and students were not washing their hands between patients, and that this was causing the spread of puerperal fever. Semmelweis introduced hand washing with chlorinated lime water, and the mortality rate in the ward dropped significantly.

Since then, hand hygiene has become a fundamental part of infection prevention and control in medical settings. In recent years, the importance of hand hygiene has been recognized beyond the medical field, as it is a simple and effective way to prevent the spread of diseases in everyday life.

Why Hand Hygiene is Important to Overall Health

Clean hands are essential to maintaining good health. Our hands are constantly in contact with germs and bacteria, which can cause illnesses such as the common cold, flu, and gastroenteritis. In fact, 8 out of 10 times we become sick, it is from our own hands.

Regular hand washing with soap and water or using hand sanitizers can prevent the spread of germs and reduce the risk of getting sick. Hand hygiene is particularly important during cold and flu season, and during outbreaks of infectious diseases such as COVID-19.

Hand hygiene is also important in medical settings, as it can prevent the spread of infections among patients and healthcare workers. Healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) are a significant cause of morbidity and mortality, and proper hand hygiene can reduce the incidence of HAIs.

Hand Hygiene Day serves as a reminder of the importance of clean hands in maintaining good health. Regular hand washing and sanitizing can prevent the spread of germs and reduce the risk of getting sick. Let us all make it a habit to wash our hands frequently and properly, not just on Hand Hygiene Day, but every day.


Use disinfectants safely. Always read the label and product information before use.

Biocider ska användas på ett säkert sätt. Läs alltid igenom etiketten och produktinformationen före användningen.

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