A+D Blog

Why Its So Important to Wash Hands and Clean Touch Points

Posted by Matt Besley on 08-12-2017

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Unfortunately, not everyone washes his or her hands after using the toilet. A CDC study showed that only 31% of men and 65% of women do so. Further, one study showed only about 5% of people actually wash their hands for the CDC-recommended 20 seconds or more. That means lots of people are walking out of the bathroom and touching the door and knobs with germy hands.

Germs can spread far and wide – and quickly. In one study, researchers placed samples of a virus on doorknobs and tabletops. Throughout the day they sampled 60 to 100 surfaces throughout the building from light switches to coffee pot handles to computers, and found that within two to four hours, the virus had spread to 40 to 60 percent of people in the facility. The researchers of the study found using antibacterial wipes on surfaces can help reduce the spread of harmful bacteria.

The CDC recommends washing your hands for 20 seconds with soap and water (you can hum "Happy Birthday" to yourself as a helpful timer), especially after using the bathroom and before eating. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers can be used in addition to hand washing, but should not be used as a substitute.

Dirty Money

Money – and the ATM buttons we press to get that cash – are covered in germs. A single note can harbor up to 3,000 different types of bacteria. Most of them are harmless, but a few are not. The flu virus is one – and it can live on a banknote for up to 17 days! Handling paper money is still something most of us need to do, so just be sure to use alcohol-based hand sanitizer after handling cash, or wash your hands thoroughly when possible.

Like other public surfaces that are touched by many people, ATM buttons or screens can also be covered in germs. Some ATM companies are looking to develop antimicrobial touch screens that would inhibit the growth of germs. Until then, use a pen to press the buttons when possible, and use hand sanitiser.

Gym Germs

Gyms are another area where germs are rife. Everyone gets hot and sweaty and there are a lot of shared, touched surfaces from free weights, to gym mats, to exercise balls. Even the shower can have the fungi that cause athlete's foot. Staph, strep, and Norovirus can spread easily in this environment. Gyms are also areas for antibiotic-resistant bacteria such as MRSA, which can lead to dangerous skin infections.

Wipe all equipment with sanitising wipes before using. Many gyms supply these now but bring your own if your gym does not. Always use your own gym mat and towels, use goggles and earplugs in the gym pool, cover any cuts or scrapes, and wear flip-flops in the locker room and shower.

Mobile Phones

Your phone probably has more germs than a toilet seat! Both cell phones and office desk phones can harbor bacteria known to cause infection. The problem is most people don't clean their phone screens and often share phones. A Journal of Applied Microbiology study warned that up to 30% of viruses could be transferred from a fingertip to a glass surface, such as that of your cell phone.   Sanitising wipes are generally not recommended for electronics. Check your manufacturer's warranty and follow all instructions if you use these products so as not to damage your phone. 

Uniwipe Clinical Wipes

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Uniwipes have a really good germ kill - the catering wipes are the most highly certified and are effective against Norovirus, MRSA and H1N1. Passes EN1276, EN1650 and EN13697. They attach biofilm and have a 24 hour residual germ kill. Safe for use on all surfaces.

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