Oh, the number of times I've said right before my kids sit down at the dinner table.... "Go wash your hands, please." Then with dejected looks on their faces they slink off to the bathroom to do what they should have already done in the first place.
Thinking about those times recently made me start thinking about something else: Does EVERYONE actually know when health experts suggest washing hands? Kids 'forget', but what about adults?
I simply cannot TELL you the number of times I've watched people walk into a public restroom, do their business and then saunter out clearly without washing their hands or even giving that basic task a thought. Gross, people. Gross.
Read an article on how some experts believe the most coliform bacteria -- the kind that can give you all sorts of gastrointestinal problems -- spreads: Unwashed hands after using the bathroom.
So with that said, when SHOULD people wash their hands? Aside from after the bathroom, of course. That should be a given!
In a nutshell, experts all agree that washing one's hands often positively contributes to better health for everyone.
Specifically, washing your hands at key times definitely helps keep you and all those around you safer from infections and health problems caused by the spread of certain germs, bacteria and (in some cases) parasites.
At a minimum, every last one of us should wash our hands:
- Before, during, and after preparation of food.
- Before eating food.
- Before and after caring for someone sick with vomiting or diarrhea.
- Before and after treating a cut, wound or some sort of open sore (including pimples, zits, paper cuts, splinters, etc.).
- After using the toilet, urinal, port-a-potty or outhouse.
- After changing diapers or cleaning up a child who has used the bathroom -- either in the correct place or, um, anywhere 'accidents' may happen.
- After cleaning up or doing laundry after an aforementioned accident.
- After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
- After touching an animal, animal feed products, animal waste, animal toys and anything that comes in contact with an animal.
- After handling pet food or pet treats.
- After touching garbage, garbage pails, garbage cans or any receptacle that comes in contact with garbage or other forms of trash.
Let's face it, folks. Dirt, germs, grime and slime exist in pretty much all areas of our lives and taking proper care to keep that stuff outside of our bodies makes sense... unless you're one of those oddballs who ENJOYS getting sick.
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This message brought to you by a group of folks who just washed their hands.
P.S. -- We mentioned coliform bacteria early in this post. If you have well water you should have your water tested for coliform bacteria at least once a year. The following link can make that a simple process!