With drought and recent emergencies worldwide, an approach to cleanliness while using the least amount of water has been on my mind. This column comes from two sources of information, the CDC and an organization called Tippytap which is working in third world countries to raise hygiene standards, thus saving thousands of lives.
The following comes from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention:
Good basic personal hygiene and handwashing are critical to help prevent the spread of illness and disease. Clean, safe running water is essential for proper hygiene and handwashing. Hygiene is especially important in an emergency such as a flood, hurricane, or earthquake, but finding clean, safe running water can sometimes be difficult. The following information will help to ensure good hygiene and handwashing in the event of an emergency.
Washing hands with soap and water is the best way to reduce the number of microbes in most situations. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers can quickly reduce the number of microbes on hands in some situations, but sanitizers do not eliminate all types of germs. Hand sanitizers are not as effective when hands are visibly dirty or greasy.
How do you use hand sanitizers?
- Apply the product to the palm of one hand (read the label to learn the correct amount).
- Rub your hands together.
- Rub the product over all surfaces of your hands and fingers until your hands are dry.
When to Wash Hands
- Before, during, and after preparing food
- Before eating food
- Before and after caring for someone who is sick
- Before and after treating a cut or wound
- After using the toilet
- After changing diapers or cleaning up a child who has used the toilet
- After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
- After touching an animal, animal feed, or animal waste
- After handling pet food or pet treats
- After touching garbage
Additional information, lessons, posters and handouts available here.
The handwashing station that Tippytap is teaching is much less expensive than the CDC station, uses very little water, and, because the people do not have to touch the unit with their hands to turn it off and on, it is more hygienic. The illustration at the top shows basic construction and use. Essentially it is a waterproof container of some sort (jug, jerry can, or even gourd) which is suspended, pierced near the top and then tilted to pour water using a simple foot pedal. Video 1 Video 2
Full instruction sheet. You will see that the instruction sheet calls for forked sticks but you can also lash or nail the cross branch to the uprights.