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Health Matters: Not Joshing, Get Serious About Handwashing


Frequently, especially during flu season, people think about handwashing. It is a good idea to inaugurate a habit of thinking about handwashing year-round. After all, what is on our hands can wind up in our mouth, which is a portal for gunk getting inside our bodies. OH NO! Consider that human poop the size of a raisin has about a trillion bacteria. So, this indicates tiny bits of contaminants invisible to the eye can be riding on dirty unwashed hands. Touching objects such as door handles, counters at stores, and weights at the gym can pass germs to others. Unavoidably, we are going to take germs into our bodies, but there is an important, overriding concept of the size of the inoculum. Smaller numbers of germs are eliminated by our immune systems, so wash most of the germs off your hands.

As in all actions, handwashing has the right ways, less right ways, and a best way. Wet and lather both hands with soap and concentrate on fingers and nail areas. These are areas most likely to contain contaminates. SCRUB WHERE THE DANGER IS. In surgeons’ scrub time, 90% is spent on fingers, especially nails.

Continue washing for at least 30 seconds to allow the soap to do its job. Soap consists of two parts, a lipophilic (loves oil) and a hydrophilic (loves water). It makes oils soluble in water and, in essence, escorts gunk (including germs) off solid objects; the beasties get carried away in the water. YEA!

Hand sanitizing solutions are good and useful, being Johnny-on-the-spot cleansers for when unable to wash. In general, choose sanitizing solutions that have alcohol(60% is considered to be better). I keep a sanitizer on a shelf in my garage for when I am entering the house; however, handwashing is better, especially for viruses.

There are commonly recognized specific times when handwashing is indicated, such as before eating or preparing food, as everyone knows. Also, after using the privy is vital. The organisms in our lower bowel don’t belong in our upper bowel at all. Wash carefully before and after caring for someone sick at home and when changing a youngster. Wash gently and precisely when treating cuts. Also, wash after handling garbage or cleaning up household messes. Wash after being in public and touching objects that multiple people have touched. I wash each time I go to the gym, just before leaving. Especially, when you are going to consume finger food, wash your hands. If you are going out to eat, wash in the restaurant because you opened the door (which many others have touched recently).

I don’t want to be persnickety in belaboring handwashing, but the subject is largely ignored. By promoting care in washing hands, each of us is also protecting others.


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