People not washing hands enough, study says

The average person spends only six seconds washing their hands in the washroom, according to this CNN report on a study by Michigan State University.

Image: Detail from WorkSafeBC Infectious Disease poster

Image: Detail from WorkSafeBC Infectious Disease poster shows lively bugs ready to sneak home with unsuspecting workers.

Researchers “discreetly watched” a total of 3,749 people in public washrooms and saw that 95 percent did not wash their hands properly. By properly, I mean for the full 20 seconds recommended by the Centre for Disease Control, WorkSafeBC, and others.

And to top it off, the majority of people didn’t use soap – and without these precautions, we are more vulnerable to flu and other viruses.

A recent video from WorkSafeBC shows how bugs can spread at work and sneak home with us. I wrote about it in my recent post Hand washing is the best defence with a good method for remembering how long to scrub your soapy hands together.

Imagine singing Happy Birthday twice

That’s how long it’s recommended in this WorkSafeBC poster How long should you wash your hands? This is a good one to print and post in the bathroom at work because it’s such a specific suggestion. People always laugh and say they’ll try it, when I tell them about it.

Here’s a refresher on proper hand washing, based on advice from the CDC:

1) Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap, and apply soap.

2) Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Be sure to lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.

3) Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice.

4) Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.

5) Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.

Simple? Obvious? Then why are so many people not doing it?


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