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Global Handwashing Day

Group of children washing handsCelebrate Global Handwashing Day to promote handwashing with soap throughout the world.

Global Handwashing Day is a way to support a global and local culture of handwashing with soap, shine a spotlight on the state of handwashing in each country, and raise awareness about the benefits of handwashing with soap.1 Since 2008, Global Handwashing Day has been celebrated annually on October 15 worldwide. The Global Public-Private Partnership for Handwashing with Soap founded Global Handwashing Day and encourages school children, teachers, and families to get involved.

Handwashing Saves Lives

Although people around the world clean their hands with water, very few use soap to wash their hands. Washing hands with soap removes germs much more effectively.5

  • Millions of children5 under the age of 5 years die from diarrheal diseases and pneumonia, the top two killers of young children around the world.2
  • Handwashing is not only simple and inexpensive, but remarkably, handwashing with soap can dramatically cut the number of young children who get sick.
  • Handwashing with soap could prevent about 1 out of every 3 episodes of diarrheal illnesses3 and almost 1 out of 6 episodes of respiratory infection like pneumonia.4

Celebrate Global Handwashing Day

People and communities around the world will celebrate Global Handwashing day in many ways, including:

You Can Celebrate Global Handwashing Day in Many Ways

For more information on handwashing, please visit CDC's Handwashing website. You can also call 1-800-CDC-INFO, or email cdcinfo@cdc.gov for answers to specific questions.

References

  1. globalhandwashingday.org
  2. Liu L, Johnson HL, Cousens S, Perin J, Scott S, Lawn JE, Rudan I, Campbell H, Cibulskis R, Li M, Mathers C, Black RE; Child Health Epidemiology Reference Group of WHO and UNICEF. Global, regional, and national causes of child mortality: an updated systematic analysis for 2010 with time trends since 2000. Lancet. 2012 Jun 9;379(9832):2151-61.
  3. Ejemot RI, Ehiri JE, Meremikwu MM, Critchley JA. Hand washing for preventing diarrhoea. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2008 Jan 23;(1):CD004265.
  4. Rabie T and Curtis V. Handwashing and risk of respiratory infections: a quantitative systematic review. Trop Med Int Health. 2006 Mar;11(3):258-67.
  5. Burton M, Cobb E, Donachie P, Judah G, Curtis V, Schmidt WP. The effect of handwashing with water or soap on bacterial contamination of hands. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2011 Jan;8(1):97-104.
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