Handwashing

19 09 2007

We have soap. 

We have hand sanitizers – the stuff we squirt on our hands and rub in when we don’t have soap and water. 

Oh, and we have germs.  Boy, do we have germs. 

What we don’t have is forward motion on this whole keeping-the-hands-clean concept.

What’s wrong with us?  The latest handwashing survey put out by the American Society for Microbiology and the Soap and Detergent Association says we’re washing our hands less often than we were two years ago.

Now, I don’t want to point any germy fingers, but you guys are really tanking on this.  And then you lie about it.  Tsk, tsk, tsk.  Eighty-nine percent of men say they wash their hands every time they use a public restroom, but only 66 percent were spotted actually doing it.

We women are doing our fair share of not washing and lying about it.  Ninety-six percent of us say we wash our hands in a public restroom but only 88 percent of us are actually doing it.

So, I suppose it’s not a question of who’s lying and who isn’t, but who’s lying more.  Not much ethical ground to stand on here.

Our hands go around picking up germs all day long off of escalator rails, chair arms, table tops, buffet tong handles, other people’s hands, money, door handles, the place on the door where we push so we don’t have to touch the door handle, and, well, lots of other places.

If we rub our eye, blow our nose or eat a peanut, the germs that we’ve picked up with our hands will be go right in and make themselves at home in our bodies.  Gastro bugs love to send us running for the toilet or reaching for anything that’ll hold liquid.  Respiratory bugs delight in making us cough and hack and sneeze and feel miserable.

That’s just the regular stuff.  Let’s not even talk about liver or kidney failure, pneumonia or other ills that send us to the hospital.

Apparently, keeping our hands clean actually makes a difference.  Fifteen seconds of soap and water or a squirt of hand sanitizer could be the difference between taking a day off because we’re sick or taking a day off because we’re not sick. 

Gesundheit!


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