Yesterday was Global Hand washing day with the theme, ‘Clean Hands for All’. This day is devoted to the important work of advocating for the importance of washing hands with soap.
Do you know when to wash your hands? We should ensure that we teach children and indeed remind ourselves to wash hands after playing or doing stuff outside the house, before eating, after using the toilet, after playing with pets or disposing of their wastes (in fact children should not be encouraged to play too close to their kennels or sheds), before cooking and even after handling dirty laundry! The list is endless…but that’s also because the possible means of contaminating our hands are endless and the germs find easy routes into the body once we touch our hands, mouths, eyes etc. So we can’t be too careful…and just in case you wondered, ‘no, you don’t have to wear a face mask like dear Michael Jackson and/or gloves all the time’ to protect you from the many germs that exist! That might be…well, for want of a better word, perhaps just a teensy weensy bit extreme!
It may sound like we all know this and, ‘hey, who really needs to be reminded?!’ Trust me! people need this reminder. I’ll share my experience below.
I was in church on Sunday (a while ago)….unfortunately, not early enough to snag my favourite seat in the house. There’s really nothing special about the area I like to sit in…just that I like the aisle seat. As I got to church this Sunday, this seat had been occupied by a young lady.
As I sat down, I started to fan myself…all of that racing from the car park to the church was taking its toll! The young lady in question turns to me and informs me that she’s cold and so I was to stop fanning myself! And I looked at her like, ‘can’t you see what I am dealing with here?’ I answered with, ‘But I’m hot’. I however, proceeded to change the general direction of my blowing such that it wasn’t getting to the left (hopefully) where she was seated. So, all in all, it wasn’t a great start to a moment of renewing of minds and souls 😀
My pastor did a great job as usual, but during the service, I couldn’t help but notice same young lady repeatedly blow her nose into a ‘face towel’ which she was using as a handkerchief. She would transfer this towel from hand to hand. I did worry about that because at the end of service, we always shared this song as a church and we were all supposed to hold hands while singing it. I wasn’t quite sure how I was going to get out of shaking ‘my friend’s’ hand without causing offence. I hoped that perhaps, she would decide to leave before the signature church song. Well, she didn’t 😀
I considered the options open to me 😉 Interestingly enough, preaching had been on divine healing. I wasn’t quite sure whether to tempt/test my faith by holding her hands or exercising wisdom by not doing so…after all, ‘…shall we continue in sin for grace to abound?’ Sin in this case being shaking a hand that I knew had a significant number of germs in them 😀
I decided to go the way of the ‘path of least resistance’. I moved away to another seat at the back of the church. I watched though to see whether ‘my friend’ would shake the hands of the people close to her. And guess what? She did! She shook hands with the guy next to her after nicely transferring her ‘handkerchief’ to another hand! I was in shock!
Now, I may have made this sound funny, but it really isn’t. Germs…all sorts are transmitted in this same way. In the light of the fact that Global hand washing Day was just celebrated, it is important that we remind ourselves of the hygiene rules of engagement for times that we need to be in public.
• If you have a cold, try and find somewhere close to the back of the church to stay. It’s important not to share your germs.
• After you have blown into your tissue (tissue is better as it can be disposed of after use, as opposed to handkerchiefs which are used repeatedly in a day becoming a rich culture medium of germs which can be easily passed on), keep your hands to yourself. If people want to shake your hands, you should politely explain that you have a cold. You will earn the respect of the people who asked for a handshake.
• Wash your hands as soon as you can…often too.
• Cough into the crook of your arms.
• At home, keep drinking cups and glasses separate.
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