Three Surprising Facts About Handwashing

This week we’re observing National Handwashing Awareness Week.  While it may sound trivial, handwashing has a huge impact on your health!  Here are some fun and fundamental facts about one of the best things you can do to stay well.

1. Fact: Many people don’t do it!

           The Minnesota Department of Health did a study in which they observed handwashing rates of public restroom users at three large events held at the Minnesota State Fair Grounds.  They discovered that on average, 68% of women washed their hands after using the restroom, and only 40% of men washed their hands after using the restroom.  Sometimes things that should go without saying don’t, so here it goes: handwashing only works if you do it!

2. Fact:  There are handwashing standards!

           The Global Hygiene Council has determined that you need to wash your hands at least six times a day in order to meet minimum hygiene standards.  Not only should you wash your hands after going to the bathroom, but since kitchen counters and grocery cart handles and airline seatback tray tables and gym equipment and cell phones are crawling with germs, you should also wash your hands after doing many common, everyday activities.  Adequate handwashing means washing vigorously with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, or applying hand sanitizer (that contains at least 60% alcohol) to the entire surface area of your fingers and hands.

3. Fact: It has a huge impact on public health.

           The World Health Organization estimates that if everyone followed the above handwashing guidelines, it would reduce pediatric diarrhea-related deaths by 50%, and pneumonia deaths by 25%.  Researchers in London concluded that appropriate handwashing could save a million lives each year!

In addition to saving lives, handwashing reduces rates of conjunctivitis, respiratory infections, pinworms, gastrointestinal infections and outer ear infections.

We hope this encourages you to wash your hands often, and wash them well!  But if you do fall ill this winter, we’re ready 7 days a week to care for you.  Make an appointment online or simply walk in if you need us.

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