How Well Do College Students Wash Their Hands?

How Well Do College Students Wash Their Hands?

Good Morning America featured an experiment to see how well 13 students at the University of Maryland washed their hands. Each student began the day by having an unidentified cream rubbed all over their hands. They were not told that this was part of a hand washing experiment. At the end of the day, the students were asked to return for a hand check. Under a black light, the remaining cream would glow simulating the germs that remained because of poor hand washing.

Typical Day of Students Oblivious to Handwashing

The students went on their merry way going class, touching door knobs, desk tops, and computers. Of course, trips to the bathroom were also part of their day. At the end of the day the students went to the designated meeting place. At this time it was explained to then that this had been an experiment to see how well they washed their hands. All of the students claimed to have washed their hands during the day. One student had taken two showers.

Students Fail Handwashing Test

When their hands were checked under the black light, they glowed where the tell tale cream had not been removed by hand washing. Not one of the students had done a good job of washing their hands. The dirtiest places were around the finger nails, the lines on the hands, caked around rings, and all over the wrist. To show how germs spread, the black light revealed the cream around their eyes, nose and mouth.

The message for the rest of us is clear. We should scrub our hands vigorously for at least 20 seconds taking care to scrub around the nails, the back of the hands and the wrist.

After all, wouldn’t you rather avoid that cold or flu that’s in the area?

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