Hand Washing-When to Wash, When to ForgetAboutIt

Here’s a common sense article by Susan Abram (Press-Telegram, Long Beach CA) about washing.  Washing after your bathroom visit and any time your hands are dirty.  Warm water, soap and a paper towel will do the trick.  What do you think?


7 Responses to Hand Washing-When to Wash, When to ForgetAboutIt

  1. cynthiacloskey says:

    I wash my hands more often when I’m in contact with people — at parties, while traveling, at the gym. It’s as much for them as for me. But I worry about antibacterial soaps, so I avoid them. I guess with all the information, particularly contradictory information, everyone is a little confused, and everyone comes to a different decision about how to deal with germs.

  2. jennifer400 says:

    There is a lot of information out there and we need to see who is providing the information as well. It is a company that sells soap products or a group with no vested interest in the outcome?

  3. Migraineur says:

    The other piece of this is that you have to be careful not to wash your hands so often they become cracked – the cracks are more vulnerable to infection.

    My hands crack rather easily, so I don’t wash them much. I wash my hands after using the restroom, before eating or preparing food, and after eating or preparing food. That’s pretty much it, unless they are soiled from an activity like painting or gardening. Lately, if I’m in a public restroom that only has antibacterial soap, I skip the soap and just use warm water. But I actually wash my hands, rubbing them vigorously together for at least a minute. The people who get a drop of soap and stick their hands under the tap for 5 seconds probably don’t understand that removing germs is largely mechanical – soap doesn’t kill the bacteria, it just makes your hands slippery so they rinse off better. But you have to actually rub your hands together to accomplish this.

  4. jennifer400 says:

    Migraineur, thanks for your comment. But I thought soap was 1/2 the battle. It helps get the germs to slip off your hands. Do you skip the soap so you are not part of the antibacterial movement?

  5. In general I agree with the article. But I have to say there are strong exceptions in my beany little mind. For one thing, I have two little incubators better known as small children. I wash their hands after every multi-child experience (such as playgrounds or daycare) as well as before eating and such, and I wash more frequently when they are sick. And, yes, I use antibacterial soap in those instances.

    Typically we avoid antibiotics for the same reasons stated in the article. It’s bad for the environment (as a rabid biologists, I know the value of having the “good” bacteria around), and we need to have at least a little “bad” bacterial exposure to build up our immune systems.

    There’s another example of my use of antibiotic soap, at the risk of TMI (too much information): I have a problem with infected hair folicles on my thighs, of all places (I’m a hairy fellow). Normal soap washing does not solve the problem. Using an antibacterial soap prevents these relatively minor infections.

    So I’d say antibacterial soap still has its place, but people need to lay off it.

    (By the way, thanks for adding me to your blogroll!)

  6. jennifer400 says:

    Angry Lab rat thanks for the insightful comment. As usualy the answer is “in moderation.” Or use as needed but don’t over use. (Do we as Americans get carried away with idea? More than other cultures?)
    I love your term for children, little incubators. What else would a biologist call children?

  7. Hey, cool tips. Perhaps I’ll buy a bottle of beer to the man from that forum who told me to visit your blog 🙂

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