Wash Your Hands, Please!
I've always been pretty intense about washing my hands, whether at home or in a public place (but who would really admit they don't wash their hands, right?) and making sure others did the same. When my brother was young and I would babysit him, I would always ask him if he washed his hands after coming back from the bathroom, playing with markers, before eating, etc. Let's just say he probably hated me continuingly reminding him; I'm sure I sounded like a broken record!
But it seems those constant reminders for people to wash their hands may be working. A recent observational survey sponsored by the American Society of Microbiology (ASM) and the American Cleaning Institute found 85 percent of adults wash their hands in public restrooms, compared to 77 percent in 2007. This is the highest rate reported since the study began in 1996. And in a telephone survey, 89 percent of people say they always wash their hands after using the restroom at home.
The cause of the increase is still to be determined. Could it be the H1N1 outbreak that has people more adamant about washing their hands, I wonder?
Interestingly, though, only 39 percent of Americans reported always washing their hands after coughing or sneezing.
"Although we are happy about the latest results, there is still work to do," said ASM spokesperson Dr. Judy Daly, director of Clinical Microbiology at Children's Primary Medical Center, Salt Lake City, in a press release. "Only a minority indicate they wash their hands after coughing or sneezing. Hand washing in this context is particularly important because we now know many respiratory and gastrointestinal illnesses are transmitted primarily by hand contact when contaminated hands touch the mucous membranes of the eyes, nose or mouth."
Hopefully, the more people who continue to be adamant about washing their hands, the less likely they are to spread germs, the less likely they are to get sick and the less likely they are to wind up at your healthcare facility!