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Friday, December 22, 2006

The Unwashed Masses

I can't begin to tell you how disgusting it is when people don't wash their hands after going to the bathroom. Consider the following September 27, 2005, article from the New York Times:
    Most people say they wash their hands after using the bathroom. But a new study suggests that many of them are not telling the truth.

    The researchers demonstrated that people were not as conscientious as they say they were by comparing answers given in a telephone poll to observed behavior.

    In the nationwide poll, conducted from Aug. 19 to Aug. 22 by Harris Interactive, 1,013 adults were interviewed about their hand washing habits. Then observers were sent into public restrooms to see what actually happened.

    Ninety-one percent of adults claimed in the poll that they washed their hands after using a public restroom. But of the 6,336 adults whose behavior was observed, only 82 percent actually did so.

    Women, the study found, were more diligent than men: 90 percent washed their hands, compared with only 75 percent of the men.

    Michael T. Osterholm, chairman of the public health committee of the American Society of Microbiologists, which commissioned the survey, said he could not explain what accounted for the difference.
It's bad enough mingling and shaking hands with the unwashed masses day in and day out, but surely there are a few places that are safe - like, say, hospitals? Wrong:
    "It's not about education," said Dr. Osterholm. "It's about hygiene education. We have a problem at hospitals with doctors and nurses who don't wash their hands after seeing a patient. You can't get more educated than that."
People can really be disgusting, can't they? You may want to keep that in mind before setting out a bowl of mixed nuts, candy, or chips at your next Christmas party.

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