Today, October 15, is Global Handwashing Day…the one day a year when we’re supposed to wash our hands.
Oopsie. I’ve just been informed that we should wash our hands EVERY day, and frequently! Today’s commemoration is designed to spread awareness, instead of germs, which is what happens when we don’t wash our hands often enough. During a growing concern about Swine Flu (H1N1), it’s timely to discuss this simple but VERY important activity. So, here are some handy tips for handy washing:
Q: How often should I wash my hands?
A: All the time…after eating, before eating, after handling lizards, when the mud pies are all done, after gutting a trout, or just when you’re feeling a little grubby.
Q: Should I use soap?
A: Fo’ Sho’. That’s part of this campaign – and it’s a serious issue, because not everyone in all parts of the world has ready access to soap. But they should, and the UN, WHO and CDC are working on that.
Q: How long should I wash my hands?
A: Experts say you should sing a little song as you wash for maybe 20 seconds, something like "Happy Birthday". Then go buy me a gift. When my hands are especially dirty, I always sing "The Battle Hymn of the Republic" until my wife begs me to stop.
Q: Will washing my hands mean I won’t get the H1N1 virus?
A: No, but I like your odds. Washing your hands (with soap, and then drying them) is the best way to avoid getting the flu, a cold, and whatever is growing in the Men’s Restroom.
Q: Things grow in the Men’s Restroom?
A: For women – you wouldn’t believe the things men get up to in public lavatories. Men are pretty gross regularly (we’re like bears with furniture, really) but somehow take it to the “next level” when in the confines of the toilet. And we men ALL know that some guys still don’t wash their hands before they leave. Yuck.
Q: Where can I learn more about handwashing?
A: Today’s observance means the Web is full of great info…search away, but remember the basics: Wash your hands. For real. A lot. As VMC’s Trauma Surgeon Gregg Adams told me yesterday, “I had H1N1 a few weeks back…it was awful, and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone.”
…even on those guys who don’t wash their hands after using the bathroom.