This blog is intended to go along with Population: An Introduction to Concepts and Issues, by John R. Weeks, published by Cengage Learning. The latest edition is the 12th (it came out in 2015), but this blog is meant to complement any edition of the book by showing the way in which demographic issues are regularly in the news.

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Friday, October 16, 2015

Wash Your Hands, and With Soap--I Mean It!

Yesterday, the 15th of October, was Global Handwashing Day. Sorry I'm a day late, but I was busy washing up. Seriously, though, this is a serious issue, as USAID reminds us:
Although many people around the world clean their hands with water, the use of soap is also necessary to more effectively prevent disease.
* Millions of children under the age of 5 years die from diarrheal diseases and pneumonia, the top two killers of young children around the world.
* Handwashing with soap could prevent about 1 out of every 3 episodes of diarrheal illnesses and almost 1 out of 6 episodes of respiratory infections like pneumonia.
Most of the photos and stories are from Africa and South Asia, but this is truly a global issue that each generation needs to learn. In low mortality societies it is easy to forget a key lesson about our low mortality and good health--prevention is always the best medicine. That's why vaccinations are so important, and that is why washing your hands is so important. For years I have sent students off to this website regarding studies of people who wash up (or don't!) at public bathrooms in airports. Kind of creepy and I doubt that things have gotten any better since that study was done. 

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