Brits are famed around the world for many things. Whether it’s our beautiful cities or vibrant multiculturalism, we have a lot to be proud of. However in some scientific circles we get a bad rap. People from Britain are infamous for their poor hygiene.
This may come as a shock but as a country we need to wash our hands more. 11% of our hands are considered ‘grossly contaminated’ putting them on par with a dirty toilet bowl. This poses a serious threat to the health of ourselves and those around us. These germs can be passed on through food or contact and cause dangerous health issues. 1 in 16 people acquire an infection while in hospital and these infections are one of the leading causes of death in the UK.
Hands are the biggest spreaders of germs and washing them regularly could help to save up to a million lives a year. Even the Swine Flu pandemic with it’s “Catch it. Bin it. Kill it.” advertising campaign only got 54% of us to wash our hands more often. Dirty hands can lead to infection and infection can lead to death. One way to help prevent the spreading of viruses is to use antibacterial hand wipes whenever we touch anything with potentially a lot of germs attached to it.
1 in 6 mobile phones have fecal matter on, which can carry up to a billion germs per gram. It’s not enough to wash your hands after using the toilet, there are many other times throughout the day when a bit of soap & warm water wouldn’t go amiss. If you are caring for sick relatives washing your hands before and after is key to keeping everyone safe. Alongside this give your hands a wash after being on public transport or using public facilities. Animals are another vector for germs and you should wash your hands after touching any animal, especially wild ones.
Special care should be paid when around children, the elderly or people with compromised immune systems as they are less well equipped to deal with the germs. 39% of catering workers don’t wash their hands after using the toilets according to one study. This is why it’s so important to be sure of the hygiene of those close to you.
A simple run under cold water won’t do either. Remember to use soap and lather for at least 20 seconds. This will give the soap time to bind to the dirt and the germs before warm water helps send them down the drain. Avoid germ hotspots by using a towel or your elbow to turn off the tap or open the door and dry your hands thoroughly. Water helps germs to thrive and reproduce and so ensuring dryness will further stall their march.
We’ll never be able to get away from germs but through diligent hygiene we can do our utmost to protect those close to us. Whether it’s the common cold or something more nefarious there can be little doubt that we are better off without. Don’t be another statistic showing our national unsanitariness, endeavor to care for yourself and get washing those hands!
Check out Clinells newest infographic below to find out more fun facts about hand hygiene and general hand washing advice.