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Seconds Save Lives

Seconds Save Lives

Posted: 03 May 2021

If there was ever a time that the importance of hand washing was abundantly clear, it is during a worldwide pandemic where a contagious virus continues to infiltrate society. Time and again we have been told by experts that using sanitizer and soap as well as masks, is extremely important.  Right now, the protection of our hands is more vital than ever. 


On the 5th of May 2009, the World Health Organization decided that there should be a day dedicated to hand hygiene, and therefore the World Hand Hygiene Day came into existence. Their aim was to “maintain global promotion, visibility and sustainability of hand hygiene in health and to bring people together in support of hand hygiene improvement around the world”.

For 2021, they want to focus on an area that is particularly vulnerable during this testing time, in hospitals and doctors’ offices, which are obviously very busy now. They call these areas “the point of care”. Between health care workers, the patients and the tools used to treat them with, there is a high risk of Covid 19 travelling quickly. Because of this, sanitizing is crucial for any worker when handling equipment, patients, and their surroundings. 

We use our hands regularly throughout the day, touching many things along the way, such as doorhandles, phones, and food. As a result, the chances of us contracting germs are substantially increased. We often unknowingly touch our nose, eyes, or other facial area, which transmits these germs to an area that we may be infected through. It is therefore incredibly easy to pick up coronavirus in these highly contagious areas.

As we know, Covid 19 is dangerous, and the World Health Organization decided that the slogan for World Hand Hygiene Day in 2021 is “Seconds save lives”. The idea behind this is to emphasize how a small effort can go a long way. It might seem like an insignificant act to wash your hands regularly, but the wider impact that it would have if everyone were disciplined in this act would be undisputable. Even if you are someone who would probably not feel the worst affects, you can still transmit the virus to those who might need desperately to avoid it. 

It is clear to see that coronavirus has impacted our very way of life. Take handshakes for example. Something that we previously took as a perfectly common method of greeting, is now frowned upon and seen as risky. Instead, we have resorted to the fist or elbow bump in its place. Stores and restaurants require us to use sanitizer to enter as a matter of precaution. 

There is of course the economic devastation that covid has caused, which these days goes without saying.

However, this virus (hopefully) won’t be around forever, and we should not change our attitude towards hand hygiene between now and then. It was important before, and it will be for many years to come. We should rather be as mindful about the topic from here on, as if we do, we can control the spread of contagious germs in dramatic proportions, and ultimately, with little effort and only seconds of our time, save lives.


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