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
Wash hands for 20 seconds or as indicated sing song twice
Clean under fingernails; use nail brush
Dry on paper towels or in air
I'm more conscientious about washing hands when I come indoors from handling shopping carts, opening doors and shaking hands. CDC tells us also to wash after:
touching raw meat, poultry,fish
using the toilet
working in the garden
sneezing or blowing your nose
Most importantly, always wash hands thoroughly after handling pets, going to the bathroom and before preparing any meals or snacks.
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.