By Ahmad Zabir
We are taught how to wash our hands and when to wash our hands, quite early in our lives. But as we grow up, eventually, we start ignoring some very fundamental and basic habits and that might cost us our lives in a worst case scenario (i.e. Washing hands)
There have actually been quite a lot of surveys and studies on how many people “don’t” wash their hands, either after toilet or or before a meal. An interesting one states that only 30% of people wash their hands after toilet. Other studies show that only 32% people wash their hands after coughing or sneezing and about 42% wash their hands after petting a dog or cat. According to another study, highlighting the importance of washing hands, the average person carries over 10 million bacteria on their hands. 10 million… yes, 10 MILLION! While an average public bench or table would have about 3,000.
Poop (of feces if you want to be formal) is a great source of germs like Salmonella, E. coli O157, and norovirus that cause diarrhea, and it can spread some respiratory infections like adenovirus and hand-foot-mouth disease. But there’s no way you are gonna those germs on your hands, right? Ahm! You can get these germs from things like going to toilet, or maybe changing a diaper. That’s not all, you can even be getting your hands dirty from these germs by touching raw meat that might have invisible amounts of animal poop on them. How bad can it be anyway, well, a single gram of human feces—which is about the weight of a paper clip—can contain one trillion germs. Feeling something?
But still washing hands is a tough job, so tough that we are good with having thousands and thousands of bacteria and germs on our hands and letting them go straight to our tummies by the food we eat.
One study shows that only 12% of people wash their hands before eating a meal. The researchers from the study said that an average pair of human hands are more unhygienic than escalators and benches in busy shopping centres and parks.
The UN estimates hand washing alone could save more than a million lives a year from diarrhoeal diseases and prevent respiratory infections. But why would we? I mean why would we wash our hands at all? To save our lives? Nah…
According to CDC, handwashing is like a “do-it-yourself vaccine”. It is evident that regular handwashing before and after certain activities(i.e. Eating food), is one of the best ways to remove germs, avoid getting sick, and prevent the spread of germs to others.
It takes what, 10 seconds? (Or 20 if you’re following the offical hand-washing guidelines). Perhaps a bit of soap, a little scrubbing, and getting your hands under water.