Dirty Secrets About Hand Washing: 7 Facts That Will Send You to the Sink to Wash Your Hands (No. 4 Will Make You Take the Stairs) Family Health

Do you know the true importance of hand washing, and the right way to wash your hands? The first week of December is National Handwashing Awareness Week, which makes sense considering it’s when we typically nosedive into peak flu season. 

The right way to wash hands is to use soap and water for at least 20 seconds, focusing on the tips, nails, front and back, and then dry with a clean towel. Most people don’t do this, and it causes all sorts of problems.

Here are seven little-known facts that will help you get in the habit:

  1. Hand washing prevents one in three diarrhea-related illnesses and one in five infections – including the flu.
  2. Only 5 percent wash hands properly – most do it for only 6 seconds.
  3. Only three in 10 men wash hands after using the restroom.
  4. Elevator buttons have 22 percent more bacteria than toilet seats.
  5. People touch their nose, eyes and mouth about 16 times an hour.
  6. A single sneeze sends 100,000 contagious germs into the air that settle on surfaces all around us.
  7. Routine hand washing could prevent a million deaths worldwide each year. 

The dirty secret about hand washing is most people don’t do a good job. This year, let’s kick off the holiday season by sharing joy, not germs. Can we shake on it?

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Comments (4)

Donna John
I will never look at an elevator button the same way again. Gross. I am an avid hand washer. And it's so sad how many people don't wash their hands after using a public restroom. I've seen women go to the bathroom in a grocery store, walk straight past the sink and then grab the handle of her cart and be on her merry way. To touch all the produce, I'm sure. Ugh. Hope this post gets a lot of shares, Sophia L. Thomas, DNP, APRN, FNP-BC, PPCNP-BC, FNAP, FAANP .
Yuck!! Thanks for the heads up!
Elisa Schmitz
OMG! What incredible insights, Sophia L. Thomas, DNP, APRN, FNP-BC, PPCNP-BC, FNAP, FAANP . Sneezes are like germ explosions. So important to remember to cover them up! I try to not touch door handles and elevator buttons after I've washed my hands - I use a shirt sleeve or a tissue, etc. I think this will make me even more of a germ-a-phobe now, LOL! Thanks for sharing and I hope people will wash their hands more now that you've created more awareness!
Julie Rose
Great info here.
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