How many times have you seen those signs in restaurant or other public restrooms saying “All Employees Must Wash Hands Before Returning to Work”? This is a very important thing to help fight the spread of germs. But, for truly good germ fighting power, it should say that they must “Wash AND Dry” their hands.
Why? Because according to scientists at the University of Auckland, New Zealand, it isn’t just the washing that helps. They looked at how many germs were spread when people touched different stuff – skin, food, utensils – after washing their hands with and without good drying. If hands were dried really well after washing, the number of germs that they spread shrank by 94 to 99%. It is about 1,000 times safer if you dry your hands well after washing them than if you leave them wet or damp!
These scientists, D. R. Patrick, G. Findon, and T. E. Miller, reported in “Epidemiology and Infection” that drying your hands for 10 seconds with a cloth towel or 20 seconds with an air dryer had a huge impact on how many germs make it from your hands to the next thing you touch, even after a good washing.
Washing your hands after going to the bathroom, after work, after going to school or to the store, after playing outside, or after working in the yard can greatly lower your risk of giving – and getting – infections (and other yucky stuff, too, like poison ivy). But, it appears that drying counts quite a bit as well.
So, do yourself, your family, your friends, and everybody else who may come along after you: DRY your hands really well after you wash them…of course remembering to give them a really good wash when you should, too!
Posted – April 24, 2012