Dr A.Majid Katme (MBBCh,DPM)

The WHO is reminded the whole world on 5 May 2015 to: SAVE LIVES....CLEAN YOUR HANDS! The WHO recommends health care workers to clean their hands before touching a patient, before clean/aseptic procedures, after body fluid exposure/risk, after touching a patient, and after touching patient surroundings.  (Plus: after touching genitals, after touching dead body) We all use our hands frequently during the day and at night  for hundreds of  tasks and reasons, especially in cooking, eating, cleaning, in work and in touching a lot of things which were touched by other people  before us. There is no doubt that the hands, if not washed frequently and properly, can be the source to a lot of infections (caused by bacteria, virus, parasite...) which can cause many diseases. These are the common diseases which can bring to us and to others if our hands are not clean and not washed frequently: Shigellosis, Typhoid, Cholera, Flu/Influenza, Respiratory diseases, Food poisoning/ Gastroenteritis, diarrheal, rotavirus, Hepatitis A, skin diseases, MRSA/superbugs and  Swine flu.... Millions of children are affected by respiratory and diarrheal diseases which can be prevented by simple HANDWASHING. Public at large is not aware of the many dangers and serious outcomes which can result from unclean hands full of bacteria and virus. Contamination by Faeces/excreta is one of the major sources of infections. Not washing after coming out of the toilet and before eating or cooking are major sources for infection today. There are today many WORRYING FACTS and FIGURES which we all are not aware of it and which came in recent studies: - A single gram of human faeces can contain 10 million viruses and one million bacteria. - And there are one billion germs per gram in faecal matter in another study. - Faecal matter can be found on just over a quarter of our hands - Faecal bacteria is present on 26% of hands in the UK, 14% of bank notes and 10% of credit cards - 11% of our hands are so “grossly contaminated“ they are carrying as many germs as a dirty toilet bowl. It’s the same for 8% of cards and 6% of notes. We already know faecal matter can be found on one in six mobile phones. The average person’s hands carry at least 3,000 different bacteria They belong to more than 100 species Everyone has a unique bacteria “fingerprint“ You can identify a person from the bacteria they leave behind after touching an inanimate object Bacteria can remain unchanged on an object after two weeks at room temperature -British men were the worst in washing their hands, women were better than men in hand washing... -The average person’s hands probably carry at least 3,000 different bacteria belonging to more than 100 species -The two most crucial times during the day are after toilet use and before eating. The study of bank notes and credit cards suggest only 39% of people wash their hands before tucking into some food. -Other Common sources for acquiring some infections in our hands: Touching the handles of doors/door bells, the taps in the sink, and the handles in the toilets for flushing, touching newspapers and magazines touched and red by other people before, touching the dog, some cats or animals. Hand washing can prevent the transmission of a variety of pathogens; it may be more effective than any single vaccine. Promoted on a wide enough scale, hand washing with soap can be thought of as a “do-it-yourself” vaccine (natural /safe/free/easy to have). Ingraining the habit of hand washing could save more lives than any single vaccine or medical intervention The UN says washing hands is the most cost-effective intervention for the worldwide control of disease. It estimates hand washing could save more than a million lives a year from diarrhoeal diseases and prevents respiratory infections, one of the biggest causes of child mortality in developing countries. HANDWASHING IS THE BEST HANDY “VACCINE” IN ORDER TO AVOID MOST INFECTIONS. It is very COST EFFECTIVE too!   THE HYGIENIC MIRACLE OF HANDWASHING IN ISLAM: Amazingly, Islam, more than 1400 years ago, has put the solid  and permanent foundations for daily HANDWASHING, to be done frequently and on a lot of occasions, before any medical or health discovery; ACCORDING TO THE TEACHINGS OF THE FINAL PROPHET MUHAMMAD (peace be upon him), in his Sayings and Actions and behaviour: Any practicing Muslim  man or woman should wash his/her hands frequently during the  day/night  and on these occasions: before the 5 daily prayers (washing for ablution/Wudu), the hands are washed 3 times  before each prayer (in all : 15 times/day), plus the washing of the nose, throat, face, ears, arms, feet, the front hairs in the head with the  brushing of the teeth (Miswak)/teeth hygiene too (more extra hygiene and cleanliness). (And if a Muslim does more prayers (sunan), so more ablution and more washing of the hands will occur ).  There are fascinating Prophetic instructions regarding the proper and full washing of one’s hands!  * just after waking up(with the washing of the nose too, which was found  today to be a healthy habit), with teeth brushing *after coming out from the toilet  *before eating  *afte eating  *after touching one’s genitals or anus(or those of  others, like the patients in hospitals)  *when one is having a shower/bath after: sexual intercourse, at end of the period or before Friday prayer. *Washing of the hands will be done frequently. *after touching a dead body( like dead patients  in hospitals) *after touching a dog(to wash 7 times, one  by sand/mud) *after touching any dirty suspicious thing. All to be done with a clean hygienic safe water (TAHIR). This is a must before doing any hand washing! No doubt a lot of these repeated hand washing practices will be very useful for Muslim medical students, doctors, nurses, patients etc... to avoid cross infections and most MRSA (superbug in hospitals) especially as we have today a serious crisis among doctors in hospitals who do spread a lot of infections to other patients because they rarely or do not wash their hands...this will be  also great preventative measures for our all health and to avoid  a lot of infections and diseases especially among patients and doctors. Latest psychological studies have shown that frequent hand washing helps in decision making too. Amazingly, on top of all these hygienic healthy measures, an extra bonus is given to us by Almighty ALLAH: A reward for each of the acts of hand washing mentioned above and done for obeying ALLAH Almighty and our beloved prophet Muhammad(peace be upon him)!  Also, SINS will go out from each part of the body which was washed, according to the Hadith on ablution/Wudu. OTHER  PRESCRIBED PROPHETIC HYGIENIC MEASURES  ARE: Food and drink , house and shop and mosque all  should be  all clean and hygienic. We are ordered also to  cut our nails frequently which are a big and hidden sources for germs/under the nails, to use always the left hand to clean oneself  in the toilet and when touching dirty  unclean things..and  to use the right hand   always for: shaking hands, eating, drinking , touching good clean things ,touching the Holy Book  AL QUR’AN , family members etc... Also ,we are requested by the prophet to brush our teeth, at least 5 times/day, especially before the 5 daily  prayers in ablution   and to shave frequently: the pubic and axillary (armpits) hairs, (tissues / toilet paper can be used with the water for cleaning  up after in the  toilet). ALL MUSLIMS SHOULD STICK TO THESE GREAT SUPERIOR PROPHETIC HYGIENIC MEASURES FOR THEIR NHYGIENE/ CLEANLINESS/ HEALTH AND SURVIVAL AND TO PROTECT THE HEALTH OF ALL THE MEMBERS OF OUR SOCIETY. Amazingly, only the practicing Muslims in the world are implementing and celebrating daily: GLOBAL HAND WASHING DAY, without having any medical explanation or scientific study! The HIGHEST number of hand washing/day is done only by the practicing Muslim man or woman, more than any doctor or hygienist, especially among those who follow SUNAN/behaviour of the model and teacher Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). Muslims are “deeply in love” with water/cleanliness and hand washing and have also “HEALTHY ADDICTION” for hand washing! In Jannah/Heaven: rivers of water are flowing under us! Hand washing is IBADA (worship) too. We really like to offer this Divine Islamic Prescription on HANDWASHING in Islam to every man/woman and child on this planet, to every doctor, nurse and patient or health worker: For their own health and survival and for the health and survival of all the members of our society! TRULY YOU PROPHET MUHAMMAD...  TRULY YOU ARE THE PHYSICIAN/HYGIENIST TO MANKIND AND TRULY YOU ARE THE TRUE PROPHET OF ALLAH!