Public Handwash, Why Should They And Why They Don’t
Funny how little attention is paid to the importance of washing hands? After all, who does not know about it? Isnt it something we all learnt at a very tender age? It may appear to be a common sense thing. It is known that the hands are so much active in ones everyday life. It is the hands that touch everything and do all the work whether clean or dirty. Hands are therefore the routes through which germs and bacteria get their way into the body and eventually causing infections. According to Larson, et al, (2003), there is the need to always keep the hands clean and at all times. Keeping the hands clean prevents transmission of germs and prevents sickness and illnesses to oneself as well as to others. Others tend to trivialize the whole idea and overlook it. It is hard to believe the number of people who get their hands contaminated but will not wash them. Is washing of hands for some people?
After all, some get dirtier than others, don’t they? What with the gardener, the mechanic and all those known to indulge in jobs known to be dirty? Is it only the young children who need to be reminded to wash their hands because they have been out playing? Is it only the women or those preparing food that should continuously wash their hands? Washing of hands is not for a particular kind of people but for everybody. This is so by the fact that everyone’s hands are contaminated from time to time. It is surprising though to realize that even such people as doctors and nurses go without washing hands, considering that they sing the monotonous song to everybody of washing hands. Are they not the role models? Don’t they understand the reason behind it more than any one else?
Some people who are adversely affected by this are school children. They are known to be very playful and they tend to use their hands. This exposes them to the hazard of getting infected because they are likely to forget to wash their hands and come lunchtime, they will use the same hands to eat without even hint of what they might be taking in.
The fact that there is public handwash indicates the essence of the washing of hands. It is not necessary that your hands be soiled so that you can be convinced to wash them. You will be surprised to know how much dirty your hands are, much as they may appear clean. Whether in the hospitals, schools or restaurants, washing of hands is mandatory. It is shocking to come to the realization that only few people wash their hands after visiting the toilet.
Is it because of the notions that the people have about these public places? Most people are known to view these public toilets and washrooms as dirty places. Does this excuse them from washing their hands? There are numerous reasons that call for one to see to it that their hands are washed regardless of whether they appear dirty or not. Just like I have said above, one has no option but to ensure that his hands are washed immediately after visiting the toilet. This is because there are so many germs that are got here and failure to wash hands dictates spread of germs and bacteria known to cause sickness and illnesses.
The human body is one source of harmful germs and so one should ensure that he has washed hands after touching bare human body. One should also make it a duty to wash hands after handling animals. This much affects people who have pets like cats and dogs. These animals are known to be the carry a lot of germs and bacteria harmful to ones health as they cause illnesses.
Before handling any food, one must wash hands to avoid contaminating it. This prevents harmful germs from being transferred from the Hands to the food and consequently into the body through the mouth, (Roberts, 2001). Again, it is essential that one wash the hands after coughing, sneezing or even scratching. It is unbelievable the germs that are transmitted through sneezing or coughing. There is the need to wash hands frequently because every one is likely to touch the eyes or nose or any other sensitive body part that is likely to cause transmission of the germs from the hands and causing diseases. Last but not least, one should ensure that hands have been washed after handling soiled equipment. The fact that the equipment is already soiled is a clear indication of the need to wash the hands.
This brings us to the key reason of discussing public handwash: its importance! To begin with, handwashing is essential to stop the spread of germs and bacteria that cause infections. Preventing sicknesses and illnesses subsequently prevents you from missing classes, job or social activities. This is so in that you do not go down with any infection that may have been caused by the germs. Washing of hands is particularly mandatory for the hospital workers. As the truth is, they are constantly in contact with sick people who may be secreting body fluids. This increases the chances of the doctor or nurse to have hospital-acquired infections. It is therefore only wise for these health workers to wash their hands after every short while.
Washing of hands not only keeps an individual safe from infections but it also keeps everyone else healthy. In The Journal, December 16,2006, it is promised that one cannot transmit germs from themselves to the next person as they have their hands washed and free from any germs. This applies largely in the context that one is preparing food for others. The chance of having germs transmitted from the hands to the food is drastically reduced owing to the fact that hands have been washed. People should always see to it that they have washed their hands before getting into the house. More applicable is the duty to wash hands before handling anything in the house. This ensures that no germs from outside have been brought into the house.
I have always wondered why someone would think it ok to use the bathroom and comfortably check out without washing his or her hands. Don’t they know the kind of germs they can spread? I can bet women do it so acceptably; walking right out of the stall and out the exit door without so much as a care. Men on the other hand are not any better. In fact they are on the worse side. Now, someone has their hands on the same surfaces that you will be using soon after and still you don’t bother to wash your own hands after you are through? Something is just so wrong, or what shall I say about it?
There are still people known not to wash their hands at all. Do these people have a valid reason why they should not? Aren’t they at the same risk with everyone else of contracting infections? One of the biggest reasons why some people don’t wash hands is if one is a man. Fewer men are known to wash their hands after visiting the public restroom than women. The crucial fact is that both men and women are at the same risk of getting infected with diseases if the hands are not washed. It is not so much that the men are incapable of contracting diseases but rather it is the issue about gender. The men see it as though it is only the women and childern who should have their hands washed while they overlook it altogether. It is disheartening when such simple task is not carried out as expected. Doesn’t it only require soap and water to have the whole thing done? Its not even like it takes long, yet it is a task not done by many.
So much about people not feeling like washing their hands. It is very well known that some public restrooms and washrooms are not anything to write home about. In fact if the truth is to be told, they are so disgusting such that no one would wish to use them. This therefore becomes a reason why one would not use the public handwash facilities.
Having talked about washing hands as a way of preventing spread of germs, it does not necessarily follow. By saying this, I want to bring into the limelight the fact that public handwashing may be a source of infections and affects the health of the community. Considering that there is universal use of soap and water, chances of spreading germs from one person to another are high. Thus handwashing becomes a problem in itself other than a problem solver. This therefore explains why many people would rather remain with dirty hands than expose them to greater danger. Everyone’s health is at this time put in danger as the rate at which the germs are to spread is quite high and the facilitators as well a in large numbers.
It becomes apparent therefore that the best thing that one can do is to avoid it at all costs. There is the cost of medication to be looked into. This is the aftermath of handwashing and being infected with the germs that eventually cause diseases. The thought of visiting the hospital about a case of diarrhea is not at all pleasant. For it being a preventable illness indicates uncleanliness and poor hygiene. It would therefore be acceptable to deduce that while it is very much recommendable for one to wash their hands, there is also the need for great caution. In thinking that one is preventing germs and their spread, he may actually be getting more than he already has in his hands and thus exposing himself to danger of getting sick.
Washing hands is therefore a very careful task that should not be overlooked or assumed (Curtis, 2002). Much as one might wash hands, it does not necessarily mean that they are really clean. One should then use the appropriate materials, which are clean water and soap. In doing so, one will be doing himself a lot of good and not just to himself but the other people as well. Just like we have seen, the other people’s health is very much affected by the individual’s hygiene. Public handwash is therefore both good and bad, as we have seen in the discussion above. This however does not mean that the public handwash should be done away with.
Roberts, C. (2001). The food safety information handbook. Oryx Press.
Larson, E., et al (2003). Short-and long-term effects of handwashing with antimicrobial or plain soap in the community. Journal of community health, Vol.28
The journal (Newcastle, England,) (2006,December 16). How to avoid flu and colds this Christmas.
Curtis, V. (2002,Oct): Health in your hands Lessons from building public-private partnerships for washing hands with soap, Retrieved September 29, 2007 from: http://www.globalhandwashing.org/Publications/Lessons_learntPart1.htm