Give Now  »

Noon Edition

The Importance of Hand Washing

In a recent study of people passing through major U.S. airports, it turned out that about thirty percent weren't washing their hands after using the bathroom.

These people who don't wash their hands don't just keep them in their pockets. They walk around shaking other people's hands, holding babies, and handling food and doorknobs.

Basically, these folks are running around exposing the fastidious hand washers among us to infections that can range from the pesky common cold to SARS, which can be fatal. After all, many infections are transmitted through hand-to-hand contact.

What's interesting is that people tend to exaggerate when they're asked about hand- washing. In surveys, ninety-five percent of people claim to wash their hands every time, when the actual observed percentage is much lower.

Think about the fact that only around seventy-five percent of people claim to wash their hands after sneezing or coughing!

On the bright side, since the SARS outbreak in Toronto, hand-washing rates at the airport have been near to one hundred percent. So all it takes to get people scrubbing diligently is a major epidemic.

Support For Indiana Public Media Comes From

About A Moment of Science