Did you know that 80% of Americans do not properly wash their hands after using the bathroom? Here’s a frightening statistic for you - As many as 40% don’t even wash their hands in the first place (info per the Centers for Disease Control (CDC)). Its no wonder that diseases and sickness like the flu and others spread like they do and infect so many people. What is the number one recommended method for warding off and fighting the spread of contagious disease and sickness like the flu? It is properly washing ones hands.
Washing your hands with soap and water seems like such a silly and easy task and yet why is it that most people do not know how to do it or even decided not to practice it at all? As a part of medical education for jobs ranging from a certified nurses aide or assistant to licensed medical practitioners including nurses and doctors an important included element is a few hours of instruction on the importance of properly washing ones hands. For demonstration purposes students are given a solution containing a UV (Ultra Violet) dye that will show up only under UV light (like a black light bulb). They are told to rub the solution in and then wait.
After they have waited sufficient time (a minute or so depending on the solution and ingredients used) they are instructed to go and wash their hands as they normally would. Some upon hearing this wash their hands a little longer thinking they will easily slide through this as it is such an easy ask. All are then astounded when taken into a dark room and their washed hands are exposed to UV light. Their seemingly cleaned hands have areas that glow in the dark (some more than others). This signifies areas where dirt and disease can lurk. Proper hand washing will eliminate or at least greatly minimize this left over improperly washed areas.
One area that is often and probably most overlooked is the nails. Just using soap and going through the motions of rubbing your hands will not take care of the regions under your fingernails and cuticles that are prime growth areas for sickness and disease like the flu to manifest itself. To properly clean this area one needs to use a nail brush which is specifically made for this area and properly brush under and around the nails. All the nooks and crannies must be brushed and cleaned. Ever been to Walmart and seen a cashier with extra long finger nails? These are even tougher to keep clean and are not very sanitary.
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After properly cleaning the nail regions one must thoroughly lather and work an antibacterial soap into the hands and work it in to every part from the knuckles and top of the hand to the palms and fingers. Another area that many people tend to miss or overlook is the base of the fingers and in between the fingers. One must work the soap lather in to every one of these areas to properly fight contagious viruses and disease like the flu. Following this one must rinse and then towel or air dry.
Many public restrooms have air dry machines which help keep down the amount of paper waste and trees used to produce this paper (do not use a pre-used cloth towel as bacteria and viruses can live for oer24 hours in the moist environments provided by these towels). In either case whether there is a towel dispenser or air dry machine do not touch the operating lever with your hands as that is where everyone else whom improperly washed their hands has touched and it is most likely a contaminated surface. Use your elbow instead to pull it down or otherwise operate it.
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Also another major area of contamination is the exit door. All the people that never even washed their hands in the first place or improperly washed their hands have touched that same door handle and now, after properly washing your hands you are going to re-infect or contaminate yourself. In numerous studies in public restrooms throughout the country the American Society for Microbiology and the Centers for Disease Control have found bacterial organisms, viruses like the flu and even human feces on items like restroom door handles. So it is best to either use your shoulder to push out if the door will work that way, or take a paper towel and open the door with that.
Now, the people that don’t even wash their hands, that is just plain laziness and stupid. That’s like saying you don’t mind if someone spits on your food or if someone just wiped their excrement on your hand, but that is exactly what happens. When someone doesn’t wash their hands or wash them effectively, they share these germs, bacteria, excrement, and whatever else may be on their hands with everyone around them. If a man doesn’t wash his hands after urinating, and then shakes your hand you have effectively for all sakes and purposes just held his penis. Think about it. Now, you’ll know to stay far away from anyone you see that doesn’t wash their hands at all! That’s just plain gross and shows that they have no respect for themselves or others.
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