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The Importance Of Handwashing

The Importance Of Handwashing

- Soap kills any bacteria and virus on our bodies

- Soap molecules trap and destabilise microorganisms

- The virus will then detach from the skin and fall apart in soapy water

- Tougher microbes will fall apart with vigorous scrubbing

- Rinsing hands at the end wash dead bacteria and virus away

When we touch our eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands, potentially harmful microbes could be entering our system.

For any infection that is transmitted through person to person contact, handwashing with soap regularly is an effective way to help protect yourself and others from infection. COVID-19 is no different. In fact hygiene and handwashing are extremely critical in this fight against coronavirus. Dr Arundati Muralidharan, Manager, Policy, Water Aid India shared,

Handwashing with soap is one of the most important thing, that helps prevent disease and infection activities that we can engage in. Especially now handwashing with soap is the line of defense Against Coronavirus”. This simple thing, done consistently and properly can save lives. Washing one's hands are also is one of the cheapest, easiest and most effective measures against the spread of the Corona Virus. While handwashing is the first line of defense to protect ourselves from the coronavirus that too for at least  20 seconds regularly through the day. Be sure to lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails and dry it with a clean towel. 

And here is why soap is actually a really powerful agent it helps to and activates the coronavirus. It is important to wash your hands thoroughly with soap before we prepare food before we eat before we feed our children after we use the toilet after we wash the children When we change children's diapers when we cough when we sneeze when we blew our nose when we are coming in from outside when we come in contact with objects that may be contaminated and when baby we are in touch with people who are sick or unwell”, adds Arundhati. If soap and water isn't readily available, an alcohol-based hand rub that contains at least 60% alcohol can also be used.

How soap works: Soap is more than a personal protectant; when used properly, it becomes part of a communal safety net. At the molecular level, soap works by breaking things apart. It is an effective way to destroy and dislodge many microbes, including the new coronavirus.

How alcohol-based rub/sanitizers work: Alcohol-based hand sanitizers can be as effective as soap if they are used properly but they need to have at least 60% alcohol in them as it's the alcohol that's the virus killer. Alcohol helps break up the germ membranes, but you need to make sure it gets into direct contact with the bacteria or virus hence using enough and getting it all over the surfaces is important.

In crucial times like this, where an acute shortage of essential commodities is seen, one can use either of them.. soap and water or the sanitizer. Both are equally effective but the technique must be correct.

For many right now, the availability of hygiene products is a challenge. Hygiene hero, Mr. Mallikarjuna Rao in Tadepalligudem distributed Antiseptic Liquid to all the police officers on duty in his area. It was his way of saying thank you to those working to keep others safe.  TV Mallikarjuna Rao, RB Distributor, Tadepalligudem, Andhara Pradesh adds,

This time government employees and police authorities did a lot of hard work to fight coronavirus and I thought I should give Dettol hand wash and sanitisers to all the people, my way to say thank you.

Coronavirus spreads through tiny droplets when the infected person coughs and sneezes. Inhaling or touching surfaces that an infected person has been in contact with can lead to the spread of the infection. Disinfecting the right way is extremely critical, especially sanitizing the high-touch surfaces in our home.  

Dr Randeep Guleria, Director, AIIMS shared,

It is important to clean surfaces frequently touched by people coming from outside in areas like the kitchen, dining room and drawing-room. You can use a disinfectant with a cloth and then dispose of the cloth or keep it outside so that it doesn't get mixed with other clothes. Remember to wash hands after that because the transmission will occur through the hands to nose and mouth so if your hands are clean you won't transmit infection therefore clean areas inside the house regularly.

While cleaning is removing contaminants from a surface, disinfecting is about killing pathogens.

High-Touch Surfaces are places which you touch the most so it is important to clean and disinfect daily:

- Doorknobs/Handles

- Table surfaces

- Hard dining chairs (seat, back, and arms)

- Kitchen and Bathroom counters

- Faucets and faucet knobs

- Toilets (seat and handle)

- Light switches

- TV remote controls

- Electronic devices

- Toys

- Makeup

Initially, medical advisories suggested that only people with symptoms, or those who were sick, should wear masks to stem the spread of infection but now the latest medical advice is that you should wear a mask while stepping out.

Post lockdown in India you're going to be forced to step out of your homes with a mask. So buy a mass that is reusable, that has anti-viral capabilities and that you can sterilise at home in a conventional oven. That's the best way to beat Coronavirus, Jaidhar Gupta, Founder, Nirvana Being.

So it's important to know how to use and dispose masks off properly while disposable surgical masks are good for one-time use, home-made cloth masks can be sterilized and reused. WHO says you should not touch the front of the mask but take it off using the ear bands at the back of the head.

As the coronavirus pandemic continues to wreak havoc around the world, health agencies, governments and even brands are relaying messages of social distancing and reminders to wash hands.

Dettol is one of the big trusted brands that we have and is doing its best in trying to find the advent of coronavirus. So we are trying to do it two ways: one is to increase the access of a product to help and prevent the spread of the virus. We have also announced that we will give about a crore of soaps for free, we will distribute it to the people who need the most through the right NGOs. So that is also again to increase the axis of the product. But at the same time, we also want to increase the habit of handwashing. And it is not handwashing with that all do it with any soap but do the habit of handwashing and in a long way it will help in preventing the spread of coronavirus, Pankaj Duhan, Chief Marketing Officer, RB Health South Asia. 

Celebs have also come forward to help fight this battle. While many have donated, most have taken to social media asking fans to stay safe amid coronavirus. Neha Dhupia, Actress told NDTV 

The world is in a state of emergency during this pandemic that we all know. But everyday conversation ends with the things that we have been reiterating again and again, so whether it is social distancing, whether it's staying at home and the most important thing is for sure hands. If that's what the cure is, then that's what the cure is and we all have to follow that.

Dettol launched a TikTok challenge aiming to get more people in India to wash their hands.

Pankaj Duhan says,

Handwashing is a very boring topic, it is not something that I'd like to hear or I would find very enjoyable somebody telling me how to wash hands and for how many seconds do you need to wash hands, it's a boring topic. But it's a very important habit to make the habit stick we wanted to make the habit of hand wash cool. And tick-tock is a fantastic platform that has to teach not just in the metros but in tier 2 tier 3 city‘s as well, it has a very wide reach. So we partnered with tick-tock to make the habit of handwashing cool, we created a jingle and a dance step but that was focus completely on washing it with the right technique front and back up and down with the nail detector. And to do it for 20 seconds. It has been fantastic we've gotten a lot of support where people popular faces Bollywood celebrities have come forward and wanted to be a part of this campaign and joined in and participated in that all hand wash challenge.

Singer Mohit Chauhan has also composed and sung a new song which is a tribute to corona warriors fighting from the frontline to save lives. From Doctors, nurses, cops, vendors, sweepers, sanitization staff, supply chain employees, media and govt officials. Mohit Chauhan told NDTV,

Everyone who is working outside while we are all staying inside safe in our homes is the real heroes actually, they don't wear real capes as they do in the movies but if you look in life they are the ones were risking their lives, there is king the lives of the families of their loved ones to keep us all safe and shielded from this deadly coronavirus.

It is India coming together; From everyday heroes to celebrities and corporates.

How Corporate India Is Helping 

- The Tata group has pledged 1500 crore to the cause

- Vedanta has contributed Rs 100 crore to the PM-CARES fund & sets up its own corpus of Rs 100 crore in the fight against Corona

- Zomato's Feeding India initiative supports the families of daily wage workers through its own & public donations and have also set up a fund to cover up the lost earnings of its delivery partners & staff

- Gautam Adani has announced Rs 100 crore contribution to various initiatives fighting COVID-19

- Reliance Industries has contributed  5 crore to the Maharashtra CM relief fund & has opened India's first 100-bed hospital for Coronavirus patients

- The JSW Group has donated Rs 100 crore in the fight against Coronavirus

- Mahindra & Mahindra manufacturing units are making ventilators, its resorts to be used as temporary care facilities

- ITC is setting up a contingency fund of Rs 150 crore for district-level rural healthcare for the poorest in society

- Bajaj Group has pledged Rs 100 crore for upgradation of healthcare infrastructure, food, shelter & economic aid in rural areas

- Xiaomi India is donating N95 masks for government hospitals and state police in Karnataka, Punjab and Delhi, and hazmat suits for doctors at AIIMS

- Diageo India has pledged to produce around 3,00,000 litres of bulk hand sanitizer

- Hero Cycles has set up a Rs 100 crore contingency fund to tackle the virus

- Renu Basu, Senior VP and Marketing, IHCL shared with NDTV,

We as a corporate have a sense of responsibility towards India. There are many instances incorporate all over the world where they step up to provide support during the crisis with natural calamity or other diversities. The pandemic as we all know is unfamiliar territory and a completely new reality. We have a civic duty across the industry to be together to contribute to compact the impact of COVID-19.

The government also recently launched the Aarogya Setu mobile app that has reached 50 million users in just 13 days-fastest ever globally for an app. The app helps people identify the risk of contracting the novel coronavirus by using smartphone's Bluetooth and location services. Developed by the ministry of electronics and information technology this app tracks users movement and informs them if they have may have come in contact with someone tested positive for coronavirus.

While the government is ramping up efforts to fight the crisis in whatever way possible. Medical fraternity, Celebrities and corporates, NGOs are leaving no stone unturned. But each one of us also has to be responsible; from wearing a mask to regular handwashing and most importantly social distancing.

India is enforcing perhaps the most extensive lockdown in the world, a social distancing effort aimed at containing the spread of the coronavirus.

I do not have to be told to practise social distancing. I practice social distancing by choice. Because I care for myself and my family I care for my fellow citizens. It is my civic responsibility; it is the call of humanity. It is because I want to break the chain of COVID-19 transmission. You may be young and restless, old and informed or simply just uncontrollable if you find it difficult to practice social distancing just think this is the only way we can break the chain of transmission of COVID-19, said Dr Rajesh Malhotra, Chief COVID facility, Trauma Center, AIIMS.

Mental health plays a very crucial role in fighting COVID-19. The COVID pandemic has brought great socio-economic uncertainties, giving rise to increased anxiety, depression, addiction and suicide the world over. The lockdown extension has made people live in fear of losing their businesses, jobs, earnings, savings or even basic resources.

The InnerHour App is a self-help app for depression and anxiety has also seen a 45% increase in the download of the application since COVID19.

Neha Kirpal, Co-founder Innerhour, Mental health platform told us,

We have seen a big spike of almost 40 to 45% increase in a number of downloads just sick of it broke out. Even the therapy sessions we have seen 60 to 65% rise in the uptake over the last two weeks and this is the trend that's true across the Indian. We are looking at data across about 60 cities is it Indian and be seen in trees in women users. There are cases that are being reported of all sorts of conditions anxiety OCD fear for your loved ones hell things IT healthcare health care workers have been feeling anxious about the risk of infection and bringing that infection back home or to other patients. There are concerns of quarantine there has been an increase in domestic violence cases and verbal abuse cases in divorce rates and suicide attempts there is a lot of concern amongst people who have pre-existing mental health issues. We have seen an increase in relapse rates as well. There exist existential worries people have today there is a lack of motivation that we all.

“Besides fighting the COVID-19 which we are fighting together collectively we are also fighting uncertainty. There is so much ambiguity around health the family's health the finances jobs future and that uncertainty in itself can sometimes be the progenitor for a lot of anxiety. So the first thing to do is watch out when you're feeling a bit more restless when you're finding it too difficult to sleep when you find out that your appetite is winning so watch out for those signs. The second thing that was advising people to do is a few basic critical hiding things the first is plan your day set a routine stick to it take out time for work breaks leisure chores like you do in your normal day. Second is talk to people. Talk to people were in the house already but also connect with others remotely connect to at least one person remotely every day this is about physical distancing doesn't have to be a social distance. In today's world, we need to connect with others the third is to be informed but not over-informed, shared Dr Amit Malik, Psychiatrist.

It is important that we practice preventative measures, such as handwashing, cleaning and disinfecting surfaces, practicing social distancing and also wear a mask. Also rather than believing the half-baked rumours on social media, we must follow the latest information on the COVID-19 outbreak through correct sources. We must take care of our emotional and psychological health. Remember together we can fight the virus, but it is important to protect ourselves and our loved ones.

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