I have written about the importance of washing your produce, even your organic produce, in order to remove residual pesticides and bacteria. Ironically, because of the use of compost and manure to fertilize organic produce, it can have higher levels of bacteria than its conventional counterparts. That’s why it’s so important to wash your produce.
For the same reason, it’s important to wash your hands. Far more than the air we breathe, dirty hands contribute to transmission of disease. People simply don’t wash their hands enough. Although 95% of men and women surveyed say they wash their hands in public restrooms, only 67% actually do. You don’t need to use antibacterial soap; they contribute to the growing antibiotic resistance of bacteria. Plain old soap and water will do just fine. Note that disposable gloves do not eliminate the need to wash hands. Their moist interiors are, in fact, excellent breeding grounds for bacteria. The key is to wash your hands and to wash them regularly.
Here are the instructions for proper hand washing according to the Mayo Clinic:
- Wet your hands with warm, running water and apply liquid soap or use clean bar soap. Lather well.
- Rub your hands vigorously together for at least 15 to 20 seconds.
- Scrub all surfaces, including the backs of your hands, wrists, between your fingers and under your fingernails.
- Rinse well.
- Dry your hands with a clean or disposable towel.
- Use a towel to turn off the faucet.
We would all do well to follow this advice regularly throughout the day.
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