Good hand hygiene will help reduce the risk of spreading winter viruses so the Public Health Agency (PHA) is reminding people of the importance of washing their hands on Global Handwashing Day 2015 (15 October).
The theme of the day is “Raise a Hand for Hygiene” encouraging people to become hand hygiene champions and encouraging those around us to also wash their hands.
Dr Lourda Geoghegan, Consultant in Health Protection at the PHA, said: “I would encourage everyone to make a habit of regularly washing their hands with soap and warm water. Global Handwashing Day is a perfect opportunity to think about the role we all play in preventing the spread of infections by practicing good hand hygiene, stopping ourselves and others from becoming ill.
“Bugs and germs are particularly active during the winter months and these can be easily passed from person to person. Older people and those with underlying health conditions need to be particularly aware of ways to reduce their risk of picking up infections.”
Washing hands with soap and water will reduce the risk of picking up infections and by following some simple steps we can help to avoid illness – keeping our families and ourselves healthy during the winter months:
- Wash your hands frequently, especially after visits to the toilet, and before preparing or eating food.
- Use a tissue to cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing, throw the tissue in the bin and wash your hands as soon as you can.
- Encourage children to wash their hands frequently and to use tissues when coughing or sneezing.
- Help older people, or those with underlying health conditions, to practice good hand hygiene.
- If you have vomiting or diarrhoea, or influenza-like symptoms, don’t visit friends or relatives in hospital or residential and nursing homes – ring them first. Avoid visiting your GP’s surgery – it is much better to phone for advice first.
Public Health Agency