Autumn has definitely arrived and it is rather beautiful to witness the spectacle of Mother Nature as tree leaves change tones and shades of colour in slow mutation. However, it also poses its own challenges…a lot of wet noses around with people sneezing and coughing non-stop in public places.
Every year on the 15th October, Global Handwashing Day is celebrated worldwide with the aim of alerting people to the need of washing their hands properly with soap. This celebration usually involves many activities and events taking place in schools, workplaces and households amongst other locations.
Bearing in mind this is the season for catching colds and flu easily anywhere, it becomes even more pressing to remind people to regularly wash their hands, especially after using the toilet!
Unfortunately I have witnessed far too many people using the toilet in public places and later touch the door knob to walk out, without ever washing their hands. Needless to say, touching light switches and keyboards, door handles as well as phones are the most notorious ways to spread germs, microbes, viruses and allow others to catch a wide range of diseases.
Anyway, before I even started researching this matter I already had many doubts but the studies produced only confirmed my suspicions in terms of what generally happens in the UK.
Now I can understand perfectly well why Her Majesty always wears gloves to greet people at public functions! As I write this, I am even thinking twice before shaking someone’s hand again…
You see, in the UK, while 95% of people claim to have a good level of personal hygiene, be squeaky clean and always wash their hands nicely with soap, their mobile phones however ”coughed up” the evidence that totally betrayed all their personal statements.
As if some of the best brains in the world had nothing better to do, a UK wide scientific study produced by Queen Mary, University of London and the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine revealed that 92% of mobile phones and 82% of personal hands were heaving with bacteria all over the place!
To make matters even worse, the people carrying bacteria on their hands were also three times more likely to have bacteria on their phones. In the meanwhile, 16% of mobile phones and people’s hands contained traces of a hardened faecal bacteria – E. Coli. Unfortunately this bacteria is easily picked up by human touch, door handles, food and even mobile phones as it can survive for hours!
On a regional level there were some differences though. As most people know, Londoners like to crack jokes about the Northeners all the time and vice-versa. Ironically, in this case Londoners were caught “red handed” as they held the highest level of E. coli on their bare hands (28%).
As the scientific study travelled towards the north of the UK, things only got worse: Birmingham had the largest number of contaminated phones (41%) and Glasgow won the record for being the least hygienic location of all, as bacteria levels on phones and personal hands were nine times higher than a southern seaside city like Brighton.
Equally, disturbing was a study of bank notes and credit cards which revealed that only 39% of people in the UK wash their hands before eating.
In terms of gender, it looks like the gentlemen need to be more mindful of their own personal habits. Electronic devices used during the study proved that a mere 32% of men and 64% of women did wash their hands.
Therefore, as seasons change do everyone a favour and remember to wash your hands regularly, as often as you can during each day. Most importantly, wash your hands before enjoying a meal and always after using the toilets.