Before you extend your arm for a handshake or walk hand-in-hand with your honey, there are a (literal) handful of good reasons to think twice. Being friendly is perfectly fine, but when poor hygiene is festering on fingers and penetrating palms, the idea of getting touchy-feely is frightening.
Germs are everywhere, so we can’t worry about avoiding them all. But we can ward off many of them by simply washing our hands. Sounds simple, yet there are far too many circumstances where folks forgo hand washing after touching or handling things riddled with grime and goo. That’s when sick happens and Turk Express Care Clinic comes to the rescue.
Since, December 1-7 is National Handwashing Awareness Week, there’s no better time to hike up our hygiene routine by being more mindful of keeping clean.
The Dirt On Dirt
No one’s suggesting that we must live in a completely sterilized environment. It’s simply not practical. Think about all the things you come into contact with throughout the day. From friends’ filthy phones and sticky subway poles to elevator buttons and bathroom doorknobs, there’s just no avoiding things that have been touched time and time again. By the time you’ve arrived, these popular objects have had plenty of action. They may look clean, but germs have a funny way of going unnoticed.
Per Science Focus (the home of BBC Science Focus magazine), the survival time for viruses and bacteria varies depending upon the type of surface and the strain of virus or bacteria. Some last only a few hours, others a full day, and then there are those which can linger for months, such as Clostridioides difficile. This bacterium can cause diarrhea and colitis, and per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a half million people fall ill from it each year in the U.S. alone.
Before you bite into your bagel or bring a brief into your boss’ office, be kind to both of you by washing your hands. Hopefully he or she did the same. Otherwise, a visit to the Turk Express Care Clinic may be in order.
Shaking Hands – Greetings Or Gross?
Most people shake hands without a second thought. Same goes for high-fives for the “cooler” crowd. But do we still need to touch in order to recognize each other’s presence? A welcoming wave would do the trick, and without close contact, there’s far less worry about passing infections and diseases along. Need another reason?
As reported by The Guardian, dirty hands transmit noroviruses, rhinoviruses, salmonella, MRSA, and then some. Naturally, people don’t have a clue that their hands could be covered and have no intention of getting others sick. Until we wash our hands, germs just hang out, waiting to get passed around. If you do decide to shake hands and hope for the best, wash up with plenty of soap and warm water ASAP or use an alcohol gel sanitizer.
Tips for washing your hands the right way?
- Wet your hands under clean water first and then apply soap.
- Scrub your hands together for at least 20 seconds to eliminate all germs that may be present.
- Make sure to wash all parts of your hands, including your palms, in-between your fingers, and the backs of your hands.
- Rinse the soap off and dry with a clean towel. Pro tip, use that towel to open the door, and then toss the towel.
Now you are germ free.
Are We Overthinking It?
Ask just about anyone, and they’ll probably tell you that they don’t always wash their hands. Even when you try your best to stay clean, there are so many opportunities to come in contact with germs. People touch whatever they need to, from exchanging handshakes, to snacking out of communal candy and chip bowls, and using railings so they don’t stumble down the stairs.
We don’t hear much about how the lack of handwashing affects us, but it’s often the reason many folks fall ill. According to the National Handwashing Awareness Week website, hand washing can prevent 1 in 3 diarrhea-related illnesses and 1 in 5 infections (the flu included). And the CDC claims that researchers in London estimate that a million deaths per year could be prevented if only people washed their hands regularly.
So, the next time you saddle up to a bar and put your hands on the counter or grab a grocery cart at the market, remember to wash your hands to rid yourself of whatever was on them – because it’s now on you!
This first week of December, awareness is only the start. Make it your mission to be vigilant about handwashing, and share the notion to as many people as you can. Spreading the mission is far better than spreading germs.