Study: 95 percent of people don't wash their hands properly - KAIT-Jonesboro, AR-News, weather, sports

Study: 95 percent of people don't wash their hands properly

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JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - For many people, washing their hands was one of the first things they learned as a child. But a new Michigan State study shows 95 percent of people are not doing it properly.

The study found the average hand-washing length of time is just six seconds. However, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, people should wash their hands for 15 to 20 seconds.

"This is actually another one of those examples of, you know, your mom knew right," Doctor Shane Speights with St. Bernards Hospital said.

Speights said it's important to wash our hands multiple times a day because we encounter more germs than we may think. "We come in contact every day with tens of thousands or millions of bacteria and viruses and all kinds of germs on our hands just by touching things."

Speights said this leads to the risk of infection and the spread of viruses and diseases that can really affect our mortality. "Being able to reduce the risk of that by simply washing your hands...that's a big deal!"

He said the proper way to wash your hands is with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds. To pass the time, he recommended singing a song like "Happy Birthday."  Then use a paper towel to turn off the water, dry your hands, and open the door. "Remember the people that aren't washing their hands...they're touching that door too so it's likely that you could become infected by any bacteria or viruses that they may have if they can be spread that way."

Speights said everyone needs to wash their hands multiple times a day...no matter their age. "The older we get, our immune systems don't work as well. So it's even more important that we try to reduce the risk of infection in that population. And younger kids, oh my gosh, go to any day care and that's just almost a petri dish of things that are going on there. So washing your hands in those areas are extremely vital."

He said hand sanitizers are a great alternative if you don't have a sink close by.

And if you're still reluctant to wash your hands, Speights said to do it to keep other people healthy. "Because you don't want to spread infection to people, you know, around you as well."

The CDC estimates 50 percent of all food-born illness outbreaks to stem from dirty hands.

 

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