7 Hand Hygiene Facts in Public Restrooms! EWW!!!
These Are The Shocking Facts
Scientists at Michigan State University observed 3,745 people using public restrooms and these are the results of the study Hand Washing Practices in a College Town Environment by Carl P. Borchgrevink, PhD; Jaemin Cha, PhD; Seunghyun Kim, PhD
Results of The Study Showed That We are All at Risk
1) A full 33% of people did NOT use soap when washing their hands after using the public toilet.
2) 7 % of women and 15% of men, who used the toilet, DID NOT BOTHER TO WASH THEIR HANDS.
3) Of those who did stop to wash their hands, 50% of males and 78% of females did use soap.
4) Only .06% of people observed after using the toiled used soap AND washed their hands long enough to actually kill harmful pathogens.
5) If the sink happened to be dirty, people were less inclined to wash their hands.
6) During evening hours people tended to wash their hands less than during daytime. Researchers theorize that this implies people who are more relaxed after dining or drinking become more lax.
7) M.S.U. authors’ research raises a question as to the accuracy of earlier measurements of “proper” hand washing practices, suggesting that compliance rates are inflated.
Hand washing studies are normally done in public restrooms in high-traffic areas, like stadiums, train stations, airports, etc., but this research was conducted in local public restrooms and bars. The researchers trained college students attending M.S.U. to observe people as they used public restrooms. They stood by the side of high-traffic paths and entered their observational data into their smart phones.
The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) reports that half of all outbreaks of foodborne illnesses are due to people not using soap when washing their hands or not washing for at least 20 seconds, which is necessary to kill germs or transient pathogens.
When I began writing this post it suddenly dawned on me the serious implications of both these studies, the one involving the nurses at Oklahoma State Hospital who apparently contributed to the deaths of 16 babies in the NICU due to having long fingernails with dangerous pathogens hiding underneath, and the study cited above regarding hand washing in public restrooms.
It became evident to me that we have a higher chance of becoming ill as a result of having dinner at a restaurant, rather than breakfast or lunch. What I also realized was that my Germ Freaks’ awareness was seriously lacking in knowledge.
Let Me Explain . . .
This fecal-oral route of pathogen transmission that lurks out and poses a risk to me and my family might be the result of customers, who patronize the same restaurants I do, using the restroom and not washing their hands with soap before returning to their dining table, the one that we are now seated at.
I have always blamed the staff for posing this risk by possibly not preparing the food properly and causing cross-contamination or for maybe not washing their hands long enough with soap before preparing my dishes and serving my food. This has always been a concern of mine, and why I developed Observational Germ Freak Strategies to decide if I dare to dine in a particular restaurant.
Now, because of these studies, I realized that other patrons are leaving a trail of pathogens from the restaurant restroom to my dining table. It doesn’t take a lot of imagination to realize that people dinning before me might NOT have washed their hands with soap after using the toilet. Then, they returned to their table (that I am now using) and grabbed the top of the chair with their fecal fingers, which is exactly where I also grabbed to pull-out the chair and sit down.
Dear reader, this is how we develop Observational Germ Freak Strategies, by using knowledge about pathogen modes of transmission, we can ask ourselves, “What about the menu, condiments, or the table top.” The answer is to wash our hands with soap before we eat and also after we eat. The answer is NOT to decide to avoid all restaurants, public restrooms, or to let fear of getting sick rule your life. Go boldly into the night, and explore this beautiful and savage land.
WE ALL ENJOY dining at restaurants with all the anticipation, the smells, the decor and of course the menu selections. It’s exciting to order something you’ve never tasted before, not to mention having device-free conversations with friends and loved ones. Our patronage also supports our local economy with jobs and community fellowship.
By having a Germ Freaks’ awareness we can all enjoy life and not live in fear, feeling as if we have to withdraw from society to stay healthy. Be proud; be bold; be free! Be a Germ Freak!
Another Shocking Study on Hand Washing
If the saying “the third time is the charm “is true, then this next study should be placed on the side of milk cartons in red lettering!
These are the Abstract Highlights from a study published in 2003 Effect of washing hands with soap on diarrhoea risk in the community: a systematic review by Curtis V. & Cairncross S. – Lancet Infect Dis. 2003 May; 3(5): 275-81. Review. PMID: 12726975 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]
The purpose of the study was to determine whether hand washing with soap had an impact on the risk of contracting diarrheal diseases in the community. The researchers sourced data from studies that associated hand washing with various diarrheal diseases.
Results of the study indicate approximately a million deaths from diarrhea could potentially be avoided by hand washing.
Current evidence suggests that hand washing with soap could decrease the risk of diarrheal diseases by 42% to 47%.
OMG! this study should be placed on the side of milk cartons in red lettering, but . . . if you have read this far, Thank you!
The new Hand-shake is the Fist-bump!!!