Google always does it and today, 20 March 2020, they have added an animated doodle that demonstrates the proper way to wash your hands and prevent the spread of germs. They are honouring Ignaz Semmelweis who was the hand washing pioneer. In this midst of this pandemic, COVID-19 this has come in hand to most people as it is the first video you see when you go on Google now. (Get latest updates on COVID-19 from the WHO website here)
Dr Ignaz Semmelweis is popularly known as the father of infection control. He was the pioneer in the washing of hands mainly because washing of hands was never really a common practice (some sources say even in the field of medicine). In the 19th century, he discovered that new mothers were constantly dying from an unknown disease after childbirth. He then came with the proposal of doctors having and nurses having infecting these women with bacteria and other material they would have used on their other patients.
By that time, Dr Ignaz was the Chief Resident of the maternity clinic of Vienna General Hospital in Austria where he had been appointed in 1847. He then insisted and made it mandatory for all staff to wash their hands regularly between patients. His theory of the bacteria became true when the rate of infection greatly reduced at the clinic. Thanks to Dr Ignaz, he has saved many lives because of his great discovery of of the link between high mortality rate of new mothers and the germs transmitted. The mortality rate improved from 18.3% in May 1847 to 1.2% in July 1847.
This discovery came as a result after one of his friends died from poking himself with a scalpel during a postmortem of a woman who had died of childbed fever. Childbed fever was a perpetual fever. The autopsy of the friend showed he had been infected with childbed as well. This is when Dr Ignaz then ordered the nurses and doctors to use a solution of chlorinated lime to wash their hands before each and every patient examination.
The following video is the one being used by Google to honour Ignaz:
To remember these steps without watching the video multiple times, you can save this tutorial below on how to wash your hands thoroughly from Google:
Who was Ignaz Semmelweis?
Ignaz Philipp Semmelweis was a doctor and scientist from Hungary, now known as the early founder of antiseptic procedures. Described as the “mother saviour,” Semmelweis found that the frequency of puerperal fever could be significantly decreased by the use of hand disinfection in obstetric clinics. He was born on the first of July in 1818 and died on 13 August 1865 at the age of 47.
Thanks to the novel coronavirus scare Ignaz Semmelweis’s focus on handwashing is currently being widely reiterated. Scientists and researchers have been continuously emphasizing hand washing at regular intervals to prevent the novel coronavirus from transmitting.