I RECENTLY read a horrifying article about personal hygiene in the Radio Times magazine called, ‘Why are the British so bad at washing their hands?’
It stated that there is faecal matter (poo) on 26 per cent of our hands, 14 per cent of banknotes, 13 per cent of mobile phones and 10 per cent of credit cards while 11 per cent of hands have a faecal bacteria level equal to a that of a dirty toilet bowl. Another survey, carried out at a motorway service area showed that 64 per cent men and 32 per cent of women do not wash their hands after using the loo.
I’m sad to say that this general lack of basic hygiene awareness was much in evidence at Market Harborough Medical Centre when I went for a flu jab last week. I washed my hands before and after using the touch-screen arrival facility using the dispenser located next to the two screens. During my twenty minute wait I stood watching the arrival area and not one single person cleaned their hands as requested. It was disturbing as traffic was high and mainly consisted of people old enough to know better. It’s common sense, what’s the problem here?
It’s been demonstrated conclusively, time-after-time, that most germs are transmitted by hand-to-mouth contact rather than droplet infection. Certainly, a few minor germs may not do a healthy person a great deal of harm but spare a thought for the very old, the very young and people with compromised immune systems? In any case, the bacteria we’re talking about here are pathogens, the really nasty ones that don’t do anybody any good, not the ‘healthy’ dirt from the back yard.
The facts speak for themselves but this has to be a community issue, surely we owe it to each other to take our heads out of the sand don’t we?