In good hands?

“Wash your hands before you eat!” Was grandmother spreading an old wives’ tale or giving us sound advice? In fact, this is a well-established principle that our grandmothers have long understood all too well.

Today it’s impossible to ignore it. We see it everywhere: on posters, ads and public health advisories. Hand washing is the most important and effective measure for preventing the spread of 80% of common infections such as colds, flu, many viruses and bacteria. These common infections travel from one person to another through direct contact (for example, by shaking hands or kissing) or indirect contact (with contaminated objects such as doorknobs and telephones). These infections can reduce productivity, make us seriously ill, and even put our lives in danger. Yet, all we need to do to avoid these problems is wash our hands with soap and water. Need more proof?

Did you know that there are more germs on a kitchen counter than on a toilet seat? And that there are three times more germs on a doorknob than on a toilet seat? Now just imagine what you’ll find on remote controls, computer keyboards and mice, and worst of all, cell phones. Talk about germs! There are 25,000 germs per square inch on these popular gadgets, compared to only 1,200 on a toilet seat. Not only that! Think about the bottoms of handbags, fuel pump handles and handrails on buses.

So, will soap and water do the trick? They sure will. That’s all you need. However, you have to rub your hands vigorously for at least 30 seconds. You can also use an alcohol-based disinfectant. But let’s get back to those nasty cell phones for a minute. Have you disinfected yours recently? Hmmm! Using a disinfectant wipe on your cell phone on a regular basis will allow you to text safely.

What about your kids? How can we make repeated hand washing more fun? Why not buy several liquid soaps with cool scents and rotate them on a regular basis? The kids will enjoy trying out the new scents. Washing will get rid of all these germs, and our children will be in good hands.