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

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

Thestudy 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.

"Thisis actually another one of those examples of, you know, your mom knewright," Doctor Shane Speights with St. Bernards Hospital said.

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

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

Hesaid the proper way to wash your hands is with soap and warm water for at least20 seconds. To pass the time, he recommended singing a song like "HappyBirthday."  Then use a paper towelto turn off the water, dry your hands, and open the door. "Remember thepeople that aren't washing their hands...they're touching that door too so it'slikely that you could become infected by any bacteria or viruses that they mayhave if they can be spread that way."

Speightssaid everyone needs to wash their hands multiple times a matter theirage. "The older we get, our immune systems don't work as well. So it'seven more important that we try to reduce the risk of infection in thatpopulation. And younger kids, oh my gosh, go to any day care and that's justalmost a petri dish of things that are going on there. So washing your hands inthose areas are extremely vital."

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

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

TheCDC estimates 50 percent of all food-born illness outbreaks to stem from dirtyhands.

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