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Hand-Washing Becoming More Popular

Alas, there is a silver lining behind every cloud.  According to a new study, the threat of H1N1 has increased the hand-washing rate to its highest point since 1996.

Telephone surveyors and public bathroom spies dispersed by the American Society for Microbiology and the American Cleaning Institute have been gathering such information for the last 14 years.

Although it’s rather disconcerting to know that we may have been spied on after taking care of personal business, the study did reveal interesting, if not all together hygienic, information.

In general, 85% of those spied on in Chicago, Atlanta, New York and San Francisco washed their hands.  And, it seems that women are the cleaner sex, as 98% of them washed their hands, while only 77% of the men did.

Unsurprisingly, phone surveyors reported that 96% of respondents claimed they washed their hands after leaving the bathroom.  However, when it comes to personal hygiene, actions definitely speak louder than words.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, hand washing is the best way to stave off illness and infection; however, it shouldn’t be done only after using the restroom.  The agency suggests we wash our hands under the following conditions:

*Before preparing food
*After handling uncooked meat or poultry
*Before eating
*After changing a diaper
*After blowing our noses
*After sneezing or coughing into a tissue
*After touching an animal or an animal’s environment
*And, of course, after using the bathroom.  Considering the fact that 15% of us don’t wash our hands after personal indisposition, it’s probably a good idea to use a disposable hand towel to open the door of a public facility.  It would be a shame to waste diligent hand-washing by opening a door after someone who isn’t as conscientious in this regard.

How’s the best way to go about our hand-washing?  The CDC tells us that we should moisten our hands with (preferably) warm water, lather up for 15-20 seconds, then rinse.  When soap and water are not an option, use an alcohol based hand sanitizer by placing a small amount in your hand, then rubbing the product all over the surfaces of your hands and fingers until dry.