Mike the Mad Biologist

I Believe I Mentioned Something About….

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This is not good public hygiene

…WASHING YOUR DAMN HANDS! From the NY Times:

In one study of four residence halls at the University of Colorado, two of the dorms had hand sanitizer dispensers installed in every dorm room, bathroom and dining area, and students were given educational materials about the importance of hand hygiene. The remaining two dorms were used as controls, and researchers simply monitored illness rates.

During the eight-week study period, students in the dorms with ready access to hand sanitizers had a third fewer complaints of coughs, chest congestion and fever. Over all, the risk of getting sick was 20 percent lower in the dorms where hand hygiene was emphasized, and those students missed 43 percent fewer days of school.

Young children benefit, too. In a study of 6,000 elementary school students in California, Delaware, Ohio and Tennessee, students in classrooms with hand sanitizers had 20 percent fewer absences due to illness. Teacher absenteeism in those schools dropped 10 percent.

Better hand hygiene also appears to make a difference in the home, lowering the risk to other family members when one child is sick. Harvard researchers studied nearly 300 families who had children 5 or younger in day care. Half the families were given a supply of hand sanitizer and educational materials; the other half were left to practice their normal hand washing habits.

In homes with hand sanitizers, the risk of catching a gastrointestinal illness from a sick child dropped 60 percent compared with the control families. The two groups did not differ in rates of respiratory illness rates, but families with the highest rates of sanitizer use had a 20 percent lower risk of catching such an illness from a sick child.

Regular soap and water and alcohol-based hand sanitizers are both effective in eliminating the H1N1 virus from the hands. In February, researchers in Australia coated the hands of 20 volunteers with copious amounts of a seasonal H1N1 flu virus. The concentration of virus was equivalent to the amount that would occur when an infected person used a hand to wipe a runny nose.

When the subjects did not wash their hands, large amounts of live virus remained even after an hour, said the lead author, Dr. M. Lindsay Grayson, a professor of medicine at the University of Melbourne. But using soap and water or a sanitizer virtually eliminated the presence of the virus.

So WASH YOUR DAMN HANDS!!!

Comments

  1. #1 NewEnglandBob
    September 16, 2009

    Yeah! Picking your own nose after washing them is much healthier :)

  2. #2 llewelly
    September 17, 2009

    aahhh… what a cute little kid.

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