Hygiene and your hands

Hygiene and your hands

THE FACTS ABOUT HAND WASHING

  • 80% of communicable diseases are transferred by touch
    • “Touch” refers primarily to the touching of food, or the touching of one’s own mouth, eyes, and nose. It is not simply person-to-person contact.
    • Touching food with contaminated hands spreads foodborne illnesses like Salmonella, E. Coli, Staph, and diarrheal infection. Proper handwashing can reduce diarrhea rates by 40%.
    • Diarrhea remains the second most common cause of childhood death
    • Touching the face with contaminated hands spreads illnesses like pneumonia, the cold, and the flu. Proper handwashing can reduce respiratory infections by close to 20%.
    • Pneumonia remains the number one cause of childhood death
  • The most critical times for hand washing are before preparing food and after going to the bathroom.103919604-1
    • Only 20% of people wash their hands before preparing food
    • Less than 75% of women and less than 50% of men wash their hands after going to the bathroom
    • Every time a toilet is flushed with the lid up, a fine mist containing bacteria such as E. Coli and Staph is spread over an area of 6 square meters. The area around sinks in public bathrooms is 90% covered in such bacteria.
  • The recommended washing time is 15 seconds. The ideal washing time is 30 seconds. 
    • For every 15 seconds spent washing hands, 10 times more bacteria is removed.
    • The average person spends less than 10 seconds washing their hands
    • 30 seconds of using hand sanitizer kills as much bacteria as 2 full minutes of handwashing
  • Most of the bacteria on our hands are on the fingertips and under the nails
    • The number of bacteria on our fingertips doubles after using the bathroom
    • Most people wash the palms of their hands and miss everything else
    • The bacteria count is highest on the dominant hand. Yet right-handed people wash their left hand more thoroughly than their right hand, and vice versa
  • Damp hands are 1,000 times more likely to spread bacteria than dry hands
    • Only 20% of people dry their hands after washing4841
    • Re-usable cloth towels harbor millions of bacteria. Disposable paper towels are the most sanitary means of drying hands.
  • Hand washing and hand hygiene initiatives greatly reduce the number of absences, sick leaves, and lost productivity
    • A study of Detroit school children showed that those who washed their hands had 24% fewer sick days due to respiratory illness and 51% fewer sick days due to upset stomach
    • In China, distribution of soap in primary schools resulted in 54% fewer sick days.

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