Washing your hands with soap reduces your risk of illness. Picture: Lulama Zenzile

Washing your hands could save you a trip to the doctor and stop the spread of disease this is according to World Health Organisation (WHO).

The organization says hand hygiene is one of the most effective and inexpensive ways to prevent diarrheal diseases and pneumonia which cause more than 3.5 million deaths worldwide in children under the age of five every year.

According to WHO, infectious diseases are a particular risk to the children, the elderly, those with a pre-existing disease, and people with a compromised immune system.

To raise awareness about personal hand hygiene, WHO has since declared May 5 as a world hand wash day with the theme: Save Lives – Clean Your Hands.

While some may take hand hygiene lightly researchers suggest that hand-contact had been the cause of the spread mild conditions, such as the common cold, but also more severe infections.

Research indicates that maternity patients continue to die at a high rate due to the transfer of bacteria from cadavers to the patients from the staff's hands.

Infection prevention and infection control have been serious topics among many households work environments and medical fraternities.

Proving that major part in reducing and eliminating the spread of germs and infections from person-to-person is attributed to the washing of hands.

WHO has warned about the use of brushing your hands or use of hot water as this may cause bruising and skin dryness creating environment to develop microorganisms. Alcohol-based hand rubs are preferred for decontaminating hands and they contain more than 60% of alcohol. The hand rub may be beneficial in situations where running water is not available

Watch: Wash your hands in 30 seconds.

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