For Humanity’s Sake, Wash Your Hands! And Look Good Doing It!

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!

 

Sources:

Today Health: Dirty America

MSU: Handwashing Practices

Dirty Hands: Bacteria of Faecal Origin

Youtube: Wash Your Hands Song

CDC Handwashing

Wondergressive: The Secret World of Bacteria

Wondergressive: Stay Away From Antibacterial Soap

Wondergressive: Obamacare

Wondergressive: Belly Button Bacteria

 

 

Stay Away From Antibacterial Soap!

Triclosan. Ever heard of it? Me neither, until now that is. Triclosan was originally registered as a pesticide and it has been labeled as a dangerous chemical over the last couple of years. Apparently it’s a very pervasive and popular chemical used in antibacterial soap, deodorant, and toothpaste. Not only that, but it can sometimes be found in clothing, kitchenware, furniture and toys. How do I know that? The FDA website says so. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration or FDA:

At this time, FDA does not have evidence that Triclosan added to antibacterial soaps and body washes provides extra health benefits over soap and water. Consumers concerned about using hand and body soaps with Triclosan should wash with regular soap and water.

Ok, so it’s just fluff added to appeal to the customer right? Yes and NO! A recent study conducted by the University of California, Davis, and the University of Colorado found that:

Triclosan impaired the ability of isolated heart muscle cells and skeletal muscle fibers to contract.

How exactly?

In the presence of Triclosan, the normal communication between two proteins that function as calcium channels was impaired, causing skeletal and cardiac muscle failure.

A higher risk for heart attack or heart failure?! Yes, I ran to my bathroom to check if I had anything that contained it. This of course was followed by the ceremony of throwing out my half-filled soap dispenser; there goes my hard earned 3 dollars, oh well. No real benefits and yet it is in our antibacterial soap, shampoo, and toothpaste! Sounds to me like we don’t really need it. Dr. Sarah Janssen, a physician and senior scientist with the Natural Resources Defense Council agrees:

Triclosan is what we call a stupid use of a chemical. It doesn’t work, it’s not safe and it is not being regulated.

Ways to get around anti-bacterial soap and toothpaste:

Go All Natural!

If you are hardcore: Create your own Soap, Shampoo, Toothpaste!

Or simply start reading labels. It honestly takes 10 seconds to scan through the ingredients, and now you know at least one ingredient to be on the lookout for!

As for the clothes and other cloth items that contain Triclosan… start knitting.

For other ingredients to avoid check out this article on Wheat and Corn! It’ll boggle your mind to find out about those two heavily used items. Yes, everything nowadays seems to be bad for you but avoiding the bad things may lead you to a healthier, longer life! That should be reason enough to avoid something!

 

Research:
U.S. Food and Drug Administration

UC Davis Study

Sarah Janssen, MD

Triclosan Definition

Natural Soap, Shampoo, Toothpaste, Etc.

Homemade Soap

Homemade Toothpaste

Homemade Shampoo

Wondergressive: Wheat Article

Wondergressive: Corn Article