Do you use hot water when you wash your hands? Do you spend longer than 10 seconds when washing your hands? Or are you the type of person that utilizes the restrooms in a hurried fashion and then bolts out, skipping over the ritual of killing the bacteria that is festering on your hands? Although I am completely against some commercial anti-bacterial soaps, I am still a believer of a healthy and clean body. That being said, wash your hands before you shake mine! And people wonder why some of us are antisocial.
A study conducted at Michigan State University yielded that from a sample size of 3,739 people observed in a college town, only 5.3 percent washed their hands for 15 or more seconds. 10 percent of this did not wash their hands at all, and although this is a low amount, it still translates to over 350 people who don’t wash their hands in that area. If this is a true representation of the population then 10 percent of all the people you encounter are touching you or shaking your hand with filthy, unwashed hands. EWWWW. Also, the 95 percent that are not washing their hands for 20 seconds or more are not paying attention to their washing techniques and are not effectively killing off germs which can spread diseases.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or CDC:
Failing to wash or insufficiently washing hands contributes to almost 50% of all food-borne illness outbreaks
But it isn’t completely the fault of the observed, the study also found that the cleanliness of a place contributes to the likely hood of washing ones hands. This definitely makes sense because if I see a sink or faucet with weird brown stains or boogers all over it then I will usually seek out alternative ways to clean my hands. And no, rubbing your hands together to create heat to theoretically kill the bacteria does not help.
Fun fact, the CDC also says that you should wash your hands:
- After using the toilet
- After changing diapers or cleaning up a child who has used the toilet
- After touching an animal or animal waste
- After touching garbage
But why all this emphasis on washing your hands after these daily activities? Why does it really matter?
Well, give it a good mulling over: You use your hands to feel and grab and touch everything throughout the day. You are strolling down to the nearest park and you run your finger across the rail on the sidewalk. You get on a train and you grab the overhead bar to keep stability during your ride. You grab a taxi and you hold the door that thousands have held before you. The restroom others have been in, the chair others have sat in, the weights others have grabbed. Not to mention the object you just grabbed or touched has a chance of containing fecal matter from another person. A study conducted by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine found that out of the 404 commuters they observed, 28% had bacteria on their hands originating from fecal matter. Gross, I know.
The worst part about all this is that we use our hands to touch our face at least a hundred times a day. My are we conceded. The point is not to become a germaphobe, but to stay aware of the way sickness and disease is spread, and how it all starts with your hands. Damnit man, just wash your hands!
The best way to wash your hands is to wet your hands, rub them together for at least 20 seconds, and then rinse and dry your hands. Make sure to give it that 20 precious seconds, 10 or less just doesn’t cut it. Tedious, I know. But hey! If all else fails here is an awesome way to help you wash your hands. Think of all the doctor visits you can avoid and all the fun singalong time you can experience!
Now if only we could find an easy way to keep our bellybuttons clean. Cheers!
Dirty Hands: Bacteria of Faecal Origin
Wondergressive: The Secret World of Bacteria
Wondergressive: Stay Away From Antibacterial Soap
Wondergressive: Belly Button Bacteria