Everyone concerned about health safety measures should learn this technique and teach it to your children. Sure, a little dirt may be healthy, but when handling food, going to the doctor's office, caring for a sick loved one or when working with hazardous materials, everyone should take a few minutes to wash up.
The American obsession with cleanliness can backfire on us. Our immune systems developed to fend off a constant threat of invading organisms, learning to distinguish helpful and harmful invaders throughout life, writes Jeff Leach in the New York Times. Today, though, we deny our bodies the opportunity to deal with outside attacks to our systems. We all need a form of resistance, just like weight lifting, or bouncing a ball of a wall, or when you say, "lean into it" in order to grow. Without any germs for the body to build its immune system, we end up "minimally challenged and thus overreactive immune system." Our clean world has lead to increasing allergies and autoimmune diseases.
However, the old fashioned method of washing with a little soap and hot water may be all we need before eating a meal or touching things to our face and mucus membranes.
What is the proper technique for washing your hands?
Wash hands with detergent
Unfortunately, government tells us to use antibacterial soaps which create more resistant strains
Hand Sanitizers carry unproven labels that they protect against MRSA
Those potential risks are another area likely to see increased federal scrutiny. The agency notes that some of the key ingredients in antibacterial soaps — namely triclosan, which is used in more than 75 percent of antibacterial soaps — have been the subject of troubling research in recent years. Animal studies suggest that triclosan might interfere with how hormones work in the body, messing with fertility and puberty and increasing one's risk of cancer. Additional research indicates that the chemical contributes to the growing threat of antibiotic resistance.
For the next 180 days, the proposed regulations will be open for public comment, and the FDA is looking to finalize new rules governing antibacterial soaps by September, 2016. If those rules look anything like the agency's proposal, companies that can't prove both the safety and health benefits of their products will be forced to reformulate or relabel them (or, possibly, pull them altogether). For now, the agency is recommending that consumers avoid using antibacterial products — and stick with ordinary soap and water instead.
We hear and see the signs all around us. Influenza scares, bacterial infections, viral epidemics, whooping cough and other illnesses keep us on our toes. When asked if you would be concerned about medical errors at the hospital or clinic, what would you say?
For whatever reason, it would be wise to be your own best advocate. If in doubt, ask.
Here's a really cool quick study that shows how we think. Are we concerned about our own hygiene, about infecting others and what words will make a difference in our actions.
Dr. Hofmann and his co-author, Adam Grant, took baseline measurements of the amount of soap and disinfectant caregivers used in a large North Carolina hospital. Then they measured the change in soap use when they put up different signs by the dispensers. One sign read “Hand Hygiene Prevents You from Catching Diseases.” Another read “Hand Hygiene Prevents Patients from Catching Diseases.” And a third sign, which served as a control, had a generic message: “Gel In, Wash Out.”
Recommendation for all hospitals to post signage to remind doctors they wash to protect patients. Results produced :
The patient-focused sign produced a 33 percent increase in the amount of soap and disinfectant used per dispenser over a two-week period, compared with the other signs.
In a second phase of the study, trained observers recorded how often doctors and nurses physically washed or disinfected their hands. The sign urging doctors to think about patients produced a roughly 10 percent spike in hand washing compliance, a jump that was small but statistically significant.
Hand washing practices are directly correlated to infection rates. Considering the possibility of MRSA antibiotic resistent bacteria, reminder signage can have positive results.
CBS June 12, 2013 | A study reports that 95 percent of people still don’t wash their hands properly. Twelve researchers were deployed undercover to public restrooms located across a college town for the study. They observed more than 3,700 people using public restrooms, and found 95 percent of them were cutting corners. Thirty-three percent of people didn't use soap, while 10 percent skipped hand-washing entirely. The average hand-washing time was 6 seconds, far below the CDC's recommended duration.
Men were much worse than women, the researchers observed. Fifteen percent of men didn't wash at all, compared with 7 percent of women. When they did wash, 50 percent of men used soap, compared to 79 percent of women.
Other factors may have contributed to these rates: People were more likely to skip hand-washing if the sink was dirty, and were more likely to wash earlier in the day, which suggests people out for a nighttime meal or drinks may not be as vigilant. Signs telling people to wash their hands were effective, the researchers also found, with people less likely to wash in the absence of a sign.
Hand-washing saves lives, according to the CDC proper technique can cut cold and flu risk, prevent the spread of food-borne illnesses and other infections in close settings like cruise ships and hospitals.
The World Health Organization says that a large percentage of food borne illness outbreaks are spread by contaminated hands.
According to a survey by SCA, 33 percent of men (and 20 percent of women) do not wash their hands thoroughly with soap and water after using a public restroom. Men are also more likely than women to witness other men leaving public restrooms without washing their hands.
U.S employers spend more than $200 billion on “lost productivity” from employee absenteeism due to illness, says the Integrated Benefits Institute.
Researchers in London estimate that if everyone routinely washed their hands, a million deaths a year could be prevented.
Simply washing your hands is an easy solution to prevent you from falling victim to these stomach-turning statistics. To ensure you are washing properly, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that you wash your hands vigorously using soap and water for 15 to 20 seconds, or the time it takes to sing or hum “Happy Birthday” twice.
SCA Corporate | SCA, which manufactures the hand towels and soap found in many office and public restrooms, conducted the survey to commemorate Global Handwashing Day (www.globalhandwashingday.org), which falls on October 15th this year.
Office workers who admitted to not washing their hands cite a variety of reasons for committing the dirty deed, including: my hands aren't really dirty (69%); I don't have time (8%); there was no soap or towels (4%); and the disturbing, nobody was watching (3%).
younger employees seem more likely than boomers to have good bathroom hygiene habits or at least they are more likely to notice bad behavior. In fact, of office workers who say they wash their hands regularly when using the bathroom, 76% of those under the age of 45 report seeing colleagues who did not wash their hands. Only 60% of office workers over 45 say they have noticed such behavior in the bathroom.
On a regional level, the SCA survey found that office workers who live in the Midwest are more likely than those living in the South to have noticed a co-worker not washing their hands (74 percent vs. 64 percent).
"Office workers come in contact with a lot of surfaces during the day and even though hands may not appear dirty, the potential to spread germs is high," says SCA's Bellcourt. "Following good handwashing practices, like washing and completely drying your hands after using the restroom, can help office workers avoid catching anything from the common cold to dangerous viruses."
Even though office workers report seeing their co-workers not wash their hands, 38 percent say they have not confronted a co-worker simply because they didn't know how to bring it up. At the same time, about a third of office workers who have seen co-workers not wash their hands have confronted them because they say "it's disgusting," according to the survey.
Of course office bathrooms may not be creating the optimal environment for robust handwashing. Many office bathrooms still feature air hand dryers and according to the survey 32% report that they don't use them at all. Either those are a lot of wet hands or they represent the dirtiest of the dirty-handed office workers. Nearly three-quarters (68%) of respondents do use air dryers, but a full 42% of those surveyed said they would prefer to have paper towels available in the office restroom.
"Many people think that air dryers are more efficient and better for the environment," adds SCA's Bellcourt. "But that's really not the case. They end up using more energy and often do not fully dry the user's hands – and damp hands spread up to 500 times more germs than dry hands." SCA's Tork® paper products are produced using 100% recycled material. In fact, the company has been called one of the greenest companies on earth.
In honor of Global Handwashing Day on October 15th, learn more about how SCA is improving the hygiene and health of communities around the globe. 'Like' SCA on Facebook athttp://www.facebook.com/SCA between October 15 and November 15, 2011, and SCA will donate 1 Euro ($1.40) to the Red Cross.
For more information on sustainable hygiene and personal care products, visit SCA's website at www.sca.com/us. For tips on how to improve your handwashing and free downloadable handwashing posters, visit the company's Tork paper products' site athttp://www.torkusa.com/hygiene1/.
Methodology The survey was conducted for SCA by KRC Research and involved 500 full or part-time office workers, ages 18 and older. The survey was conducted via telephone from September 30, 2011 to October 2, 2011.
About SCA SCA is a global hygiene and paper company that develops and produces personal care products, tissue, packaging solutions, publication papers and solid-wood products. Sales are conducted in some 100 countries. SCA has many well-known brands, including the global brands TENA and Tork. Sales in 2010 amounted to $15 billion. SCA has approximately 45,000 employees. More information atwww.sca.com/us or www.sca.com.
2014: Minnesota becomes first state to outlaw antibacterial products While the FDA takes its sweet time investigating the effectiveness — and potential dangers — of triclosan, Minnesota goes ahead and bans the controversial chemical.