The Scientist Who's Known As The Father Of Handwashing : Short Wave Washing your hands. It's one of the easiest and most effective things you can do to protect yourself from the coronavirus, the flu, and other respiratory illnesses. But there was a time when that wasn't so obvious. Dana Tulodziecki, a professor at Purdue University, tells the story of Ignaz Semmelweis, the scientist who's credited with discovering the importance of handwashing. We'll hear how he figured it out and why there's more to the story. (Encore episode)
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The Surprising History of Handwashing

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The Surprising History of Handwashing

The Surprising History of Handwashing

The Surprising History of Handwashing

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/960351594/960577397" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Until the 19th century, scientists did not understand the role of hand-washing in disease prevention. Thomas Lohnes/DDP/AFP via Getty Images hide caption

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Thomas Lohnes/DDP/AFP via Getty Images

Until the 19th century, scientists did not understand the role of hand-washing in disease prevention.

Thomas Lohnes/DDP/AFP via Getty Images

Washing your hands. It's one of the easiest and most effective things you can do to protect yourself from the coronavirus, the flu, and other respiratory illnesses. But there was a time when that wasn't so obvious. Dana Tulodziecki, a professor at Purdue University, tells the story of Ignaz Semmelweis, the scientist who's credited with discovering the importance of handwashing. We'll hear how he figured it out and why there's more to the story. (Encore episode)

Follow host Maddie Sofia on Twitter @maddie_sofia. Email the show at shortwave@npr.org.

This episode was edited by Viet Le and fact-checked by Emily Vaughn.