Water, soap and complete hand washing are the best ways to prevent most infections. To raise awareness of this fact, World Handwashing Day has been established, which is celebrated annually in early May. Infections in this context mainly affect children, but adults cannot forget the bacteria that surround them.
Today we take it for granted, but only at the end of the 19th century did hand washing become seen as a necessary factor for proper surgery among doctors. At the time, a doctor working in Vienna, Ignaz Semmelweis, noticed that the percentage of fatal births was much higher when attended by students and doctors, rather than by midwives. The first ones were often taken immediately after the autopsy, they did not wash their hands between two sessions, and the midwives did not have such an experience. Despite this, hand hygiene was not officially recognized as a key factor in health until around 1980, when the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recognized it as a key factor in preventing the spread of infection.
Today, no one doubts the importance of hand washing, yet many of us neglect it or wash our hands improperly – both of which can endanger our health.