Pauls Stradins Museum for history of medicine

The exhibition "Did You Wash Your Hands?"

Plague, smallpox, cholera, dysentery, tuberculosis, Spanish flu, bird flu and now also the new coronavirus SARS-CoV2.  Causes for diseases are all around us, and human history shows that the dirtier the surroundings of people, the more dangerous were the diseases which stormed through communities.  More and more people died.  Medieval cities could be smelled before they were seen.  Washing was seen as harmful, and those who washed their hands before meals could find themselves in the clutches of the Holy Inquisition because that suggested that they were not Roman Catholics.

During the 19th century, Europe was tormented by cholera, which was one of the most deadly "dirty hand diseases."  Urban governance institutions had to deal with water supply and sewage issues because of the many people who fell victim to the disease.  Water and sewage offer an excellent opportunity to avoid "dirty hand diseases," but the spread of various diseases suggests that we often forget about the hygiene of our hands.  It is said that people touch their faces on average 23 times per hour, which means that microbes can move from hands to the person's mouth, nose and eyes and thus cause diseases.  So let's make sure to keep our hands clean and protect ourselves against many diseases.  During the coronavirus and flu season, washing your hands is a good way to prevent infection.  This exhibition focuses on the most common "dirty hand diseases." 

The exhibition will be open to visitors once the emergency situation is over and will remain open until September 20.