Category Archives: Handwashing Saves Lives

Jimmy Kimmel and Guillermo: Learning the Correct Way to Wash Hands

Learning to wash your hands the right way is no laughing matter. Jimmy Kimmel wanted to make sure he was doing it right, so he reached out to Dr. Poland from the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, who is a specialist in infectious disease.

Check the video out below, and then CLICK HERE to look at all the GLITTERBUG kits that can help ensure you are washing your hands correctly too!

Transient Germs Facts

TRANSIENT MICROBES

Skin is our first line of defense against invasions that can cause illness, but skin – especially the skin ON our hands – can also transport countless microorganisms.

Our hands are incredibly versatile. We use them to push, pull, grab, and hold things. Because of this they are constantly picking up and depositing transient microbes. Our hands then become carriers of a diversity of microbes, some of which can cause us harm. We grant many of them access into our bodies when we touch the food we eat, our eyes, noses and mouths. Transient germs live primarily on the surface of the skin and can easily be transferred. The good news is that you can remove them with proper handwashing or render them harmless with hand sanitizer. Washing your hands frequently is the best way to prevent spreading them. Below are a few of the more common culprits

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The filthy dirty truth about handwashing and hygiene in public restrooms

hygiene habits in public restrooms

We’ve all been there: You have to “go” and you’re nowhere near home so you have a choice: shame yourself or (gasp!) use a public restroom. So you consult a phone app to find the closest clean restroom (yes, there are several apps) and enroute to your designated clean loo you strategize how to get your business done and come out unscathed. How do you get IN or OUT of the restroom without touching the door handle, for instance? Do you use your elbow? Do you grab a tissue or moist wipe from the pack you always keep handy? Same goes for the stall door. And what if the seat is in the wrong position? You can always employ the squat-and-hover method and flush the toilet with your foot.

Discussing the variations is like watching a skit on Saturday Night Live. Let’s say you flushed the toilet with your foot. Well, that means the next person might use their hands and whatever was on your shoe is now on their hands. And vice versa. You used a paper towel to open the door, but there’s no garbage to dispose of the now dirty towel…so where do you put it? And let’s say you placed your handbag or backpack on the hook on the stall door, but what was on the hook before you got there? Because you may be taking it with you. It’s a vicious cycle. Is there a solution?

After one of the largest handwashing surveys in the UK revealed some “deplorable habits” recently, a company there launched a product to promote hand hygiene and shame bad hygiene by displaying rates on screens in bathrooms. The product was piloted across different types of businesses such as education, office and retail facilities as well as other sectors where good hand hygiene is essential—and the company claims the “informal nudge” and increased peer pressure helped drive good behavior rates up dramatically. “Hand washing rates rose to 90 per cent within two days of the data being displayed, before stabilising between 80 per cent and 85 per cent.”

Of course, we never tire of handwashing discussions around here. Now, another new survey from restroom fixture manufacturer Bradley Corporation has gone and given us more fodder by covering the actions many of us take to avoid touching anything in a restroom. Sounds oddly familiar and we’re not alone: 57% of people using public restrooms operate the flusher with their foot; 55% use paper towels with the door handle; 45% open and close the door with behind (we assume that’s a hip or bum); and 69% of people use their elbows to avoid all contact in a public restroom.

We look forward to a world where 100% of respondents are washing their hands, but in the meantime we’ll take an increase in people using paper towels, elbows, feet and bums, too.  Of course, there’s always room for improvement when it comes to the state of public restrooms. In fact, an unpleasant restroom experience can create a damaging and lasting impression for a business—and that’s bad for business. According to the Bradley survey, the majority of consumers believe an unclean restroom indicates poor management (69%), lowers their opinion of the company (67% ) and signifies that the business doesn’t care about customers (63%).

Which brings us to another improvement we’re thrilled to see in the business of taking care of our business: clean public restroom apps. There are several out there and we’re not making a recommendation, but it can’t be worse than going to a public restroom without some kind of head’s up.

  • Sit or Squat is brought to you by none other than Charmin, the makers of toilet paper and it has one purpose: to identify bathrooms around you and let you know if they’re nice and clean . . . or not so nice. This app is crowd-sourced, but it receives mixed feedback from users.
  • Toilet Finder uses the slogan “May the flush be with you” and claims its database to includes more than 70,000 public-accessible restrooms.
  • Whizzer claims to be the ultimate bathroom locator and lets you search by current location to find clean restrooms, those that are open late at night, and those with showers. You can also search to include baby changing stations, feminine hygiene products, and can even specify just how clean you want the restroom to be. You can even follow them on Twitter!
  • Diaroogle.com calls themselves “the premier toilet search engine” and when the time comes for us to go, we really hope they’re right.
  • Bathroom Scout offers turn-by-turn navigation can lead you directly to blessed relief. If imagery is available on street view, “Bathroom Scout” can also show you the location around the bathroom, providing added peace of mind.
  • Where to Wee is an app that helps you find and rate restrooms worldwide. “Whether it’s a road-trip that never seems to end, or an endless line in front of the women’s restroom: when you gotta go, you gotta know.

Guess who’s coming to dinner? Salmonella and other food-borne illnesses if Senator Tillis has anything to say about it.

Handwashing is required by restaurant workers

Is requiring food workers to wash their hands after using the bathroom an onerous government intrusion? Senator Thom Tillis of North Carollina thinks so.

During a recent appearance at the Bipartisan Policy Center, Senator Tillis stated that businesses are bogged down by government regulations, so he thinks restaurants should be able to opt-out of the requirement that employees wash their hands after using the restroom—as long as they let customers know.

Tillis told the story of a time a woman asked him if hand washing wasn’t the sort of regulation that needed to be on the books. With his right hand raised for emphasis, Tillis concluded that in his example most businesses who posted signs telling customers their food workers didn’t have to wash their hands would likely go out of business. Tillis’s example takes pressure off businesses to provide safe food, and forces consumers to judge every meal’s likelihood of making them violently ill. Ah, the free market!

In case you didn’t know, the FDA requires handwashing and here’s why: “Proper handwashing reduces the spread of fecal-oral pathogens from the hands of a food employee to foods.” Gross! Recently, a restaurant in Mercer County, New Jersey was cited for handwashing violations—just a month before a worker tested positive for hepatitis A. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says hepatitis A is spread when an infected person doesn’t wash his or her hands after going to the bathroom and touches other objects or food.

In 2013, an All American Grill in Tillis’s home state gave a hundred people salmonella. The health department identified several health violations that could have contributed to food cross-contamination, including the fact that the hand washing sink was out of paper towels and soap, and didn’t have sufficiently hot water, all factors that “could serve as a deterrent to hand washing or render it ineffective,” according to the department. In that situation that market didn’t take care of the safety risks—100 ill guests and employees did.

Tillis was the butt of a lot of jokes after his comments went public. Jon Stewart even did this segment “Mr. Unclean,” on The Daily Show. Says Stewart, “You do realize that that’s a regulation too, right? … That’s not getting rid of a regulation, that just makes you an inconsistent ideologue with a light fecal dusting in your latte.”

Telling people to wash their hands never gets old around here. If workers are serving food and not washing their hands, they’re also serving up germs and sickness. So if free-market ideology means we can’t go out to eat without worrying about getting sick we’ll just stay home for dinner.

Join the project that captures the good, the bad & the ugly of hand hygiene.

#handhygienx

Handwashing assist or foul? We all follow in the footsteps, handprints—and germs—of everyone who has gone before us. (Not to mention the stranger who is sitting next to us right now.)

Handwashing pundits know proper handwashing is the most effective way to kill those germs and prevent the spread of illness, so we’re launching a new project—a social, visual declaration to all of mankind that we MUST wash our hands: #handhygienx.

To encourage the handwashing-averse or neglectful public to get on board, we’re leveraging picture and video sharing on social media to collectively capture handwashing habits—be it assists or fouls—through the lens of the camera/phone-wielding public. This project isn’t just for infection control specialists, germophobes, or epidemiologists (although they’ll love it). It’s a campaign is for all of mankind; we humans who work, play, eat, shop, learn, touch, breathe, and live in the mire of life every day.

All things will be at play here, including (and hopefully) the good stuff. We’d love to see people washing their hands correctly or wearing gloves when appropriate; businesses that post encouraging handwashing signs; stores making disinfecting wipes readily available; maybe even videos of adults washing their hands while they sing the ABC song twice through (or the equivalent of the required 20-seconds it takes to kill germs). If it’s for the good of all mankind, share it.

The bad (unfortunately) will also be at play, from man-on-the street nose pickers to woman-on-the-street “free” sneezers. See a restaurant worker leaving the restroom without washing his or herhands? Capture it. Handwash hygienx will put a spotlight on all of the contaminators and cross-contaminators out there in society. You know who they are and it’s time to shame them.

The rules are SIMPLE: When you see a handwashing hygienx (good or foul), snap a picture with your mobile device and upload it to Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, or Google+ with the hashtag: #handhygienx. 

If you’re not a social media user, you’re welcome to email photos to saralynn@brevis.com and we’ll share it on our Brevis Instagram page and other social sites. We’ve added samples of hand hygienx photos to our official project page, and we’ll maintain a running collection as the project goes along.

Citizens of project #handhygienx unite! Help us spot the handwashing fair and foul, fight the germs, and live healthier lives all around on planet earth.