We know the benefits handwashing has when it comes to protecting us from disease. But can cleaning our hands be connected with cleaning our minds?
Two researchers from the University of Toronto conducted four experiments and found a connection with cleaning one’s hands and a shift in goal pursuit.
Ping Dong, one of the researchers, explains, “People have multiple goals to pursue in their life and sometimes some of the goals may be fruitless. But people often feel it’s hard to give up old goals and pick up new goals so maybe physical cleansing can help people shift their goal pursuits effectively.” In other words, when people have a nagging goal they feel they just can’t let go, the best way to wash their hands of the problem may just be . . . washing their hands.
In the study, groups of undergraduate students were primed to bring their attention to particular goals; those groups were divided into two categories, one of which used a hand wipe. Those who used the hand wipe were found to find more importance in any goals primed following the hand cleansing process, as opposed to the goals brought up before the cleansing.
The mental process here illustrates that physical cleansing functions in a realm of psychological separation. Simone Schnall of Cambridge University says, “It’s important in the sense that it shows that physical cleansing can serve as a ‘psychological reset button,’ as it were, that operates on a very general level.”
The next time you wash your hands, take note of how it changes your frame of mind, and maybe even your to-do list.
Attention gardeners! New research shows that washing your hands after gardening can help protect you from a common but dangerous strain of Legionnaires’ disease.
Legionnaires’ is a severe form of pneumonia, and those most at risk are older adults, smokers, and people with weakened immune systems. Most people with Legionnaires’ disease have contracted it by inhaling a bacteria called legionella. Untreated, the disease can be fatal.
Legionella longbeachae is the culprit strain in this case, a bacteria found in soil and compost products (homemade compost excluded), according to a study out of the University of Otago in New Zealand.
“We recommend gardeners avoid breathing in compost or potting mix, by opening bags away from the face and keeping it close to the ground when moving it around. Also, always wash compost/potting mix off hands before putting them near the face,” says epidemiologist and Associate Professor Patricia Priest.
Further research is needed for more conclusive information, but in the meantime, it’s important to remember that washing your hands after gardening is a smart thing to do, even if you’ve been wearing gloves.
APIC, the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology, announced the winner of its seventh annual Film Festival competition. The video, “Look at Me Hand Hygiene,” was created by Providence Health & Services Alaska, and stresses proper handwashing hygiene and techniques for hospital visitors and staff.
The video was chosen for its inventiveness, originality, general appeal, significance to the infection prevention community, and educational message.
The music video highlights the importance of thorough hand washing, stressing that hands should be washed for 20-25 seconds.
It also outlines W.L.S.R.D., which is “wet, lather, scrub, rinse, dry,” as the basic steps for hand hygiene and infection prevention.
You can view all of the video submissions on the APIC website.
Brevis has also created multiple educational videos around hand hygiene. You can see them below.