MORE Hand Washing Info?
Some of this information may be TMI! Mrs. Root says she has to go home at lunch now to shower after she read about the bacteria we all live with everyday. I find it interesting and useful information…and a bit gross…but…
I couldn’t resist…I just had to share!
11 HAND WASHING FACTS
Could singing Yankee Doodle save your life?
By Jay Hardy, CLS, SM (ASCP)
80% of all infectious diseases
are transmitted by touch.
According to experts, without a
vaccine, the single most
important thing you can do to
prevent getting the flu is to wash
The Solution to Pollution is
While soap may not kill all
viruses, thorough hand washing
will decrease the viral counts to
a point below the infectious
Caught in the act (or lack of).
95% of the population says that
they wash their hands after using
a public toilet. However when
8,000 people were monitored
across five large cities in the US,
they found the actual number to
be more like 67%.
Chicago topped the list at 83%.
New York was the worst at less
Do as I say, not as I do…
A poll of pediatric ICU
physicians showed that they
claimed their rate of hand
washing between patients was
73%, but when followed and
observed, the hand washing rate
was found to be less than 10%.
Listen carefully and you can hear
Dr. Semmelweis rolling over in
his grave. The top excuses for
not hand washing among
doctors? Too busy and dry skin.
Where’s the dirt?
CDC studies show that the
number of bacteria per square
centimeter on the human body
are as follows:
□ Scalp – 1,000,000
□ Forearm – 10,000
□ Arm pit – 500,000
□ Abdomen – 40,000
□ Hands of medical
personnel – 40,000 to
When it comes to hands,
fingernails and the surrounding
areas harbor the most
Who has it?
A recent study showed that 21%
of the health care workers in
ICU had varying counts of
Staphylococcus aureus on their
The average wash time for health
care workers? 9 seconds.
One study demonstrated that
hand washing guidelines were
followed 25% of the time during
times when the floor was
overcrowded and understaffed.
Compliance rose to 70% when
the floor was properly staffed
and not overcrowded with
And the winner is…
Many studies have shown that
alcohol rubs are more effective
than plain or even antimicrobial
soaps, unless the hands are
heavily soiled. However we
can’t get overconfident with
alcohol rubs. Despite its
effectiveness against many
organisms, alcohols have very
poor activity against bacterial
spores, protozoan oocysts, and
(nonlipophilic) viruses. In
addition, alcohol has no residual
effect as some antimicrobial
9. 10. 11. Two layers?
There are two layers of bacteria.
The outer layer of bacteria found
on your hands is termed
“Transient Flora”. This layer is
potentially the most dangerous
for transmitting disease from one
person to another. Fortunately, it
is also the most easily eliminated
by hand washing. The deeper
layer is called “Resident Flora”.
This bacterial population is more
likely to be made up of
innocuous bacteria such as
Staphylococcus epidermidis and
(diptheroids); and is more
resistant to washing, since they
occupy the deeper layers of skin
Hmm…hot or cold water? Hot water can
increase the chance of dermatitis.
Hot or warm water has not been
proven to increase the
effectiveness of hand washing.
Cold water, though not as
comfortable, produces less skin
damage from detergents
especially with repeated
How long is long enough?
The CDC recommends at least
15 seconds. However, studies
show that the reduction of skin
bacteria is nearly ten times
greater by washing with soap for
30 seconds rather than 15. Even
so, remember that alcohol gels
are even more effective than
Teach children (and why not adults?)
to sing “Yankee Doodle Dandy” start to finish
before rinsing. This takes about 15 seconds.
If you don’t know the words to Yankee Doodle, the
Happy Birthday song sung twice will suffice.