Wednesday, August 25, 2004


Do people wash their hands? Do they do it often enough?

I wonder how many times a day I do it? 20? 25? How about you? Do you do it enough? What about the guy at the restaurant making your lunch? The guy at the meat counter packaging up your steak? The guy whose hand you just shook? The person who touched the door handle before you did? The list goes on and on.

One of the best ways to get sick is by not washing your hands. I wonder what percentage of people wash their hands after they use the restroom. I know many people do not. I think we need one of those signs like in The Far Side comic to be put up over the restroom door that flashes in big letters “DIDN’T WASH HANDS!” when someone walks out who did not. It’s gross. Just plain gross. I don’t think the offenders realize that they are basically walking around wiping their fecal matter on door knobs, telephones, pens, grocery carts, computer keyboards, hangers at stores, food, basically anything they touch. This contains bacteria that spreads illness like colds, flu, and diarrhea.

There are many times when you should wash your hands. A few include: after using the restroom, after touching animals, before and after preparing food- especially raw meat, before eating, blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing in your hands, before and after treating wounds, after touching someone who is sick, after touching garbage (this list could go on and on…)and when your hands look and feel dirty!

Unfortunately many people who do go to the effort of washing them do it incorrectly. I know many folks think that washing their hands involves waving their hands quickly though a stream of water. Soap?? What is that?? And for those who actually do use soap: did you make sure to lather well then rub your hands vigorously together for 10-15 seconds? Did you get the fingernails and wrists and backs of your hands? (Contrary to popular belief, dirt does get in those places too) Personally, I prefer paper towels to dry off. (I hate those hand air dryer things, but that’s a whole different story) Oh and don’t forget to turn the water off with the paper towel (remember when you turned it on with dirty hands?). You should also hang on to the paper towel to open the door on the way out of the restroom, as I’m certain many people have touched it without washing.

I don’t see what the big deal is people. Water, soap, and a few extra seconds of your life in exchange for not ingesting your and other people’s fecal matter. The answer seems obvious to me.


Blogger Legolas said...

Now I am all for washing hands! I am no germaphobe but I wash regulary. Maybe not before I eat but after I go to the bathroom or handle garbage... the farside this is funny, when I was a senior in High School I did that to a freshman... There was a center court, where all the hallways met... Two bathrooms there, and out side were benches... Its where most of the senior jocks and other cliques sat inbetween class... Anyways I went to the bathroom washed my hands and noticed that this freshman didn't even rinse his hands... So he walked out right in front of me and I yelled it. HE DIDN'T WASH HIS HANDS... poor kid... lucky me that he didn't bring a gun the next day...

Next thing, A friend of my ex g/f's was arguing the washing hands thing while at his job... He worked at a target with my g/f and I ate lunch with them. We got on this topic and here was his point. He takes a shower every morning and puts on clean underwear.... he then goes to work and handles money. Lets face it money is gross more germs there than anywhere else... When he goes to the bathroom he thinks he should wash his hands before he goes pee... And then afterwards, if he does wash his hands, the guy in front of him didn't and just used the door handle....

Finally... I actually heard you can wash your hands too much. Antibacterial soap kills good bacteria. And most bacteria is good. Your body uses many bacterias on your skin as a defende to other germs. That soap kills your defenses for a while, and you are open to greater risk for illness. I just learned that in my Anatomy class last semester... But i still say wash your hands. especially when you make me my food.

12:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Of course if you wash your hands too much several problems arise as well. Like the fact that the soap strips your skin of the oil needed to keep it lubricated. Or that your immune system becomes weak from not be utilized as much. Or that the antibacterial soap, that people love so much, mutates the bacteria enough that the soap becomes ineffective. Of course that only counts for bacterial not viruses. Some people can be very paranoid about the whole thing.

I'm not saying it's a bad thing to wash your hands but do we really have to do it quite so much?

12:56 PM  
Blogger Cocles said...

I love it, she says "Wash your hands" and your defense is, but but but, anti-bacterial soap is bad!

As if someone's holding a gun to your head, making you you use anti-bacterial soap.

And last I checked, that pink soap they use in virtually every public restroom isn't anti-bacterial.

Nice try. Go back to grade school.

And if you're so worried about your skin, use moisturizer. And if you're a guy, stop being a wuss.

1:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tjoe said...

You hit on one of my major peeves (one that I failed to put in the Peeves forum thread on SST - oops).

But first, a joke: 2 young elisted men are using the urinal. They both finish at the same time. Service man #1 zips up and heads for the door. Service man #2 says to the 1st "Hey, my drill instructor taught me to wash after going pee." Service man #1 replies "Yeah, well MY drill instructor taught me not to pee on my hands."

Studies done (and how'd you like to have this guy's job? Bruiser - do NOT apply there) have shown that pee splattered from an adult (hmmm, didn't say male or female) peeing into the toilet bowl can travel up to 10 FEET. FEET! Look around your bathroom. You might want to move those dixie cups and tooth brushes. Think you don't need to wash your hands because you are "careful"? Think again.

I have been trying to get as many people as I can to wash after "going". Sometimes it works and I'll see the same people start doing it. But after awhile they slip back into their old habits. It's like they think they are getting away with something to not take the few extra seconds. Honestly, you don't have to scrub like a surgeon, just a quick wash with a little soap and a good drying. 15 seconds on average for me.

One of my friend actually tried to convice people that you shouldn't have to wash since urine is actually sterile. Okay, he's right - to a point. In a normal, healthy person, the urine in the bladder is sterile. However, it can pick up the E. coli bacteria on it's way out (it is quite common to have this bacteria in your digestive tract). This then gets on your hands (see above).

And it isn't only urine, by the way.

At work, I always have a tin of popcorn open to any that want it. You just reach in and grab what you want. I only requested that they didn't chew over the container. Then I noticed that one of the biggest consumers NEVER washed his hands. I saw him eat out of the container immediately after peeing without washing. So, without naming names, I made it that you have to use a scoop to get popcorn out of the tin. The guy that I caught was the most indignant about this and wanted to know exactly who it was - as if to throw me off the trail... sheesh!

So, okay, if someone wants to wallow in their own mess, fine (unless they cost me money on lost labor or medical bills). But if you are in contact with other people, please clean you hands. I often allow myself to be picked as the designated chef when our office grills out for lunch. This way, I know that the person touching the food has washed. I make sure to wash immediately before I start cooking. I've witnessed others going right from the toilet to the grill and handle the food before putting it on. I went out for lunch that day instead.

For those that don't wash, think of this. The next time you shake someone's hand, think about what he/she has just done with that hand. What if the kid at McD's decided to just whizz all over your food. Would you still eat it?

Yes, money is horrible. I applaud, and openly compliment restaraunts that do not let employees touch food if they have been handling money.

At home, I'm trying to get my kids to do it. Not because I say so, but because it should just be the right thing to do.

Now, what about those freaks that wash "before" they pee? How weird is that? ;)

5:35 AM  
Blogger Legolas said...

Actually the urea(sp) and body temp is what makes your piss sterile... It will stay sterile for about ten minutes outside the body... But seriously, I'd still wash your hands... And if you do a number two! YOU GOD DAMN WELL BETTER WASH YA HANDS! If only seen this once or twice at a bar when someone came out of a stinky stall, and didn't whash hands.... I opened the door using lots paper towel when i left.... gross...

BTW any of you eat yellow snow by mistake when you were young?

and I wonder who wash's their hands the least... I bet its men more than women.

7:39 AM  
Blogger thuringwethil2004 said...

Eww! Why wouldn't you wash your hands. I don't use the anti-bac soap for that very reason, and it is to prevent bacterial germs not get rid of the ones that are there. One of my kids is so picky about it that she washes her hands if she even goes in a restroom, even if she wasn't the one going potty(she just turned 3). I wash my hands all the time and replace the oils with wonderful natural lotions so i smell yummy and am clean.

10:52 AM  
Blogger Becky said...

I had a couple roommates who I had to share a dorm bathroom with. One was foreign (which I guess was the reason she had zero hygene) and the other was a selfish brat who was probably used to her mom wiping her butt. One of the girls was living in my room and the other one living next door with a girl (my best bud, who indeed has a great sense of hygene). Every time one of the two sick-os would go to the bathroom, they would stink it up and come out without washing their hands. 1) I thought only boys stunk up the bathroom that bad ... But just for times like these, there was lysol strategically placed right next to the toilet -USE IT IF YOU HAVE TO! 2) There were 2 sinks in the bathroom with very nice soap located within reach along with hand towels (and paper towels) also within reach.

After my bud and I were comiserating about the fact that our roomates were infecting the whole apartment with their ... you know ... I decided to do something about it but I'm not one to bring up a sticky subject. And I figured these girls just got out on their own, they dont want me to act like their mother asking "did you wash your hands," every time they come out of the lou. So, I got online and looked up the nastiest disease that you could get from not washing your hands. It was called "shigellosis." I made this pretty little sign that was positioned where you could read it while doing your business. It said "I don't know about you, but I don't want SHIGELLOSIS* - WASH YOUR HANDS!" and at the bottom, in smaller letters it said "*shigellosis is a disease with symptoms of abdominal pain,crampy rectal pain, diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, fever and blood, mucus or pus in stool."

2 days later my roommate (the brat one) said "did you see that sign in the bathroom," as she was WASHING - HER - HANDS! and I said "Yes, I made it." She said "Oh, thats gross." I said "Yeah, makes you want to wash your hands, huh?"

It took a little longer for the foriegn girl to get the message, but she too eventually started washing her hands. Thank Goodness! (I eventually put a big arrow-shaped sign that pointed to the lysol/air-freshener, too.)

12:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jazzman said...

What I *really* hate are employees at restraunts that wear the plastic gloves, so they seem clean and all. Then you watch them for a while and notice that they NEVER TAKE THEM OFF. They wear them while doing everything, including handling the money. What's the point, doofus? That's about as effective as thinking that your hands got clean when you took a shower this morning (you can only hope that he did that) then that should pretty much be enough for the rest of the day.

1:01 PM  
Blogger Pixie said...

That drives me nuts too Jazzman!! It's like they think gloves provide some super-strength protection barrier that doesn't hold germs. They think they can go from bleach to raw chicken to money to the bun without washing or changing them!! GROSS!!

1:06 PM  

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