5 Gross Facts that will Change Your Handwashing Routine
Have you washed your recently? The truth is that germs are everywhere and more often than not, people are falling short when it comes to hygiene. And after reading these five cringe-worthy facts, you might find yourself running to the nearest sink.
1. One Germ Can Become Eight Million in a Single Day
Did you know you probably touch 300 surfaces every half hour? That means you’ve likely been exposed to 840,000 germs in the last 30 minutes alone. And if there’s one thing germs are good at, it’s multiplying. It’s no wonder that most illnesses are spread by hands! Wonder which germs we’re talking about? Well, there are plenty. But a few of the most common include noroviruses that cause viral gastroenteritis, respiratory illnesses, nosocomial infections like MRSA and E.coli, and hepatitis A.
2. Fecal Matter is EVERYWHERE
You might think it’s primarily contained in that one room of your house (the bathroom) but you’d be wrong. Fecal matter is also commonly found in the kitchen sponge, sink, and cutting boards, on computer keyboards and especially on your smartphone, on your shoes (and any surface they’ve touched), on the handles of grocery shopping carts, hidden in the fibers of your clothes, and even floating through the air you’re breathing right now.
3. Your TV Remote is the Dirtiest Surface in Your Home
Think about it. How many times have you handled that remote while you were sick, or while your hands weren’t totally clean? It’s probably been sneezed on, coughed on, and exposed to every germ that’s entered your home since you bought the tv. And since remotes are almost impossible to really get clean, even in the tidiest homes they can be a flourishing microbiome of germs and disease. Don’t even get us started about the remotes found in hotels, hospitals, and public spaces.
4. Hand Dryers Aren’t as Clean as You Think
Hand dryers in restrooms are pretty commonplace. They’re a more environmentally friendly choice than paper towels, and don’t lead to overflowing waste baskets, so more and more businesses and public spaces are opting to use them. And yet, they’re not exactly a “clean” technology. We all know that the bathroom houses plenty of germs. When someone flushes, many of these go airborne. And hot air dryers suck them up and keep redistributing them. Not only that, if the guy before you didn’t wash his hands well, he’s now blowing the remaining germs all over the room. Yuck! Pass the paper towels, please.
5. One in Five People Don’t Wash Their Hands Routinely
Of course, we’ve all seen the person who leaves the restroom without washing at all. It’s estimated that one in five people doesn’t wash their hands routinely. And only 30 percent of us actually use soap. In fact, even if you think you have good hand hygiene, you’re probably wrong. Only about five percent of people wash their hands correctly according to the CDC. And if you’re one of the five percent, just think about how many times you come into contact with the other 95 percent.
How to Wash Correctly
So how do you wash your hands properly? It’s a simple, five-step process that anyone can manage.
- Wet your hands with clean running water.
- Apply soap and lather everywhere. Yes, that includes the backs of your hands, between fingers, and under nails.
- Scrub for at least 15-20 seconds. Not sure how long that is? Sing the “happy birthday” song twice. Silently in your head preferably, but hey, you do you.
- Rinse, again with clean running water.
- Dry your hands with a clean towel.
That’s it! Something so simple has been proven the most effective way to keep yourself healthy and germ free. The most important times to wash are before handling or preparing food and after using the bathroom. But if you’re sick, or have been around someone who’s ill, it’s good practice to wash more often than that.
So What if You Still Get Sick?
Of course, no matter how on point your handwashing routine is, you may still get sick from time to time. Know where is another place that harbors a ton of germs? The waiting room at your local emergency room. It’s occupied by dozens of sick people on a regular basis, and they leave behind plenty of germs.
Next time you need medical care, skip the germy waiting room and get care delivered. A helpful and friendly medical team from DispatchHealth can treat nearly everything an emergency room can, and all from the comfort of your home. DispatchHealth’s house call services can conveniently be requested via phone, mobile app, or through the company’s website and their board-certified healthcare providers typically arrive at your home within a few hours.