Just How Dirty Are Your Hands?

Published 02/11 2014 11:23AM

Updated 02/11 2014 11:38AM

It's difficult to know just how clean our hands really are because germs are microscopic and invisible to the naked eye.  In a special report, WFFT takes a look at just how dirty our hands really are.

"You may think 'well, I just touched my notebook.  I just touch my hands, I just touch MY stuff,' and that's just not the case."

The dirty truth about dirty hands is that the average person in an office touches about 300 surfaces every 30 minutes.

You may think you only touch "your" things but did you turn on a light?  Did you touch money?  Did you open a door? How about get a cup of coffee?

"People would be stunned at knowing how many organisms they come in contact with everyday.  How many new exposures they have everyday."

To show coworkers how easily germs can spread, I secretly spread powder simulated germs on the handle of the office coffee pot.  The germs glow under ultra violet light.

The key function of germs that causes so much disease and illness, is their ability to rapidly reproduce.

"You get out of the shower and think 'I'm good for the day', you could be good for less than a minute."

If you use the restroom right after you shower and you don't close the lid before flushing, you and anyone or anything within a 3 foot radius might as well get back in the shower.

"When you flush a toilet, from flushing, you can get droplet contamination directly from the toilet onto your hands or your face.  You should always close the lid before flushing."

Hand washing is the most important thing you can do to stop the spread of disease and as simple as it may be, according to a national hand washing survey, 70% of Americans are rinsing their hands with water and no soap after using a public restroom.

"There's a big difference between washing which is the cleaning of a surface, and sanitizing, which is killing of micro-organisms."

WFFT's Kristen Kirchhaine washed her hands like she normally would.  Before she washed them, she applied a lotion that simulated germs.  Any germs that she did not kill with the soap, would appear under ultra violet light.

After using soap, Kristen realized she wasn't washing between her fingers, her nails, or her wrists, a common mistake.

"Be very physically aggressive and abrasive about the way you wash your hands."

Williams says it's important to wash your hands as soon as you think you've been in contact with something that you're not normally on contact with all the time.

"People think they need to be quarantined or take medicine, or cough in their sleeve, or just all the things that they do in order to quote 'not make other people sick by what they do'.  People need to understand that hand washing is the single most important thing anybody can do to stop the spread of disease."

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