Hand Washing = Health + Happiness! Celebrate Global Handwashing Day on October 15

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by Jake Richardson

handwashing dayRecently a survey of just over 1,000 Americans about hand washing found that 70% of the respondents said they rinsed their hands without using soap when using work and public restrooms. When people don't wash their hands properly, it is more likely they can pick up and transmit germs. Hand washing is one of the most important things we can to avoid getting sick and to not spread germs, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

It's hard to be happy when you are sick, so regular hand washing is actually an important health practice that is also related to happiness. Happiness is also related to purpose, or the contributions we make to the greater good. So, washing our hands fully and regularly is good for own health, but it is also good for the health of everyone, because it reduces the spread of disease-causing germs. Every year, about 200,000 Americans are hospitalized due to influenza, and thousands die. The most vulnerable are children under two years of age and the elderly. Flu season can begin in early October, so we are almost already there.

Rhinovirus causes the common cold and it becomes more common in fall and winter too. So does bronchitis and even pneumonia. Most cases of pneumonia are not caused by influenza, but having influenza can greatly increase the chance a person will get pneumonia. Many diseases and conditions are spread by not washing hands with soap and clean, running water. (Source: CDC)

Regular hand washing is a good thing to do for your community, whether it is co-workers friends or family members. This kind of purposeful contribution could increase happiness, as has been indicated by studies that show volunteering boosts mood. For example, starting a hand hygiene program at work would be a good way to contribute to your workplace.

If implemented and managed correctly, it could reduce the number of germs and illnesses. One could simply decide to create a new habit to wash more and more thoroughly as well. There is plenty of information online about how to decrease old habits and start new ones, such as the work of Charles Duhigg.

Key takeaways:

- Hand washing is one of the most important things we can do to reduce germs and respiratory illness.
- Starting a hand washing awareness program at work might reduce illness in the office and contribute to company happiness.

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