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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Column: Wash your hands, you heathens

Hand-washing isn’t some new-age technique invented by hippies, but to some people its importance is debatable.

Hand-washing isn’t disputable, and it’s not just for people who are at work (see: “All employees must wash their hands”). And yet, I still see many guys on campus completely avoid washing up.

They finish zipping up and head right for the door, or worse, reach into their pockets for their smartphone while making their way out of the bathroom, touching the door handle everyone has to use. Usually it’s the latter, since most people can’t go more than a few moments detached from their phones.

According to hand-washing information published by Better Health Channel, one of the most important acts to wash your hands after is using the toilet.Of all the various situations listed, using the bathroom is the first one in the list — for good reason.

Better Health Channel also lists washing hands with soap and water as a method of removing substantially more disease-causing organisms than simply washing hands with water alone. Students on campus that avoid it all together are missing out on all of the health benefits that come from washing one’s hands.

The biggest issue I have with people who don’t wash up is their negligence doesn’t just affect them, it affects the people around them as well. Most bathroom users do go through the proper steps: they use soap, rinse under warm water and dry their hands with a paper towel, only to end up touching the same door handle that has been contaminated by the non-washer.

All it takes is one non-washer to taint the door handle. I’ve started going to great lengths to stay clean; I use a paper towel to first turn off the sink, then use another towel to touch the bathroom door handle and exit, resulting in minimal contact between my clean hands and the filthy door handle.

Time permitting, I’ll sometimes go so far as to avoid bathrooms that have hand driers instead of hand towels, because in order for me to exit, I would have to touch the bathroom door handle. With the alarming frequency of guys not washing, I’m almost guaranteed to touch a tainted door handle if I can’t use a towel.

How can we protect those that clean their hands from those that don’t? By having the UA remove every bathroom door completely? That’s an unreasonably extreme solution that doesn’t even resolve the issue of a person with unclean hands touching many other things on campus once they’re no longer in the bathroom.

Better Health Channel states the obvious in that proper hand-washing can protect you and others from a range of diseases.

When you break it all down, that’s what hand-washing is really all about: protecting yourself and others from the spread of germs and illness.

Hand-washing isn’t a law, but it’s a common courtesy to everyone around you. It’s not just about limiting the spread of germs and diseases, it’s about respecting the people around you.

Over the years when I’ve seen a friend not wash his hands after using the restroom, I’d ask why and he’d reply with something along the lines of: “I’m clean, I barely touched anything.” That’s a weak argument for simply being too lazy to prevent spreading your germs all over campus.

It’s analogous to people violating the more minor traffic laws like running stop signs. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen a person put themselves in danger by not obeying a simple traffic law, and worse at the same time they’ve put another innocent person in danger.

I don’t care if you want to Evel Knievel your way to an early grave, that’s your own dang business. However, when your actions affect me or another person, I have a problem. It’s the same reason I have a major issue with people who don’t wash their hands.

I don’t know if it’s just guys that don’t wash their hands, but to any ladies that are a part of this trend: please wash up.

It doesn’t take long, it’s not difficult and it’s something that everyone should do, regardless of how clean they think they are. If you’re one of these people, do me and everyone else on campus a favor and please just wash your hands — every single time.

Follow Daniel Geffre on Twitter.

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