Saturday, October 04, 2014

Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and...

Global Hand washing Day.

 October 15th is the day, and millions all over the world are already lining up to finally wash their hands.

Just kidding, just kidding!

I think.  (At least about millions lining up. Global Hand Washing Day is for real.)

For those of us who grew up in middle class America, washing your hands seems almost as natural as...breathing.  What's the big deal?

Well, according to survey by the American Society for Microbiology done four years ago, one third of Americans skipped washing their hands after visiting the restroom.

They recently repeated the survey and found that almost 50 percent skipped washing.

Now, these surveys were taken at public restrooms in New York, so that may have skewed it a bit, but clearly, there is room for improvement.

Ignaz Philipp Semmelweis
Actually history shows that the washing of hands is not the natural instinct of humanity.

In fact, the Father of hand washing, Ignaz Philipp Semmelweis, had one Hell of a time trying to convince the medical community of 1847 to wash their hands when operating on patients.

He proved his theory by reducing the deaths in his clinic from 10% to 1%.

His theory that the results were all the product of Cleanliness were extreme at the time (this was before the germ theory was confirmed by Louis Pasteur.)   He later widened his theory, according to the article I saw on the Internet "... to include all instruments coming in contact with patients."
Semmelweis was ridiculed, rejected, ignored, and finally dismissed from the hospital.
His contemporaries, including his wife thought he was losing his mind and shortly afterward committed to an asylum where he was beaten to death by the guards.

Talk about "No good deed going unpunished!"

So perhaps GLOBAL HAND WASHING DAY  is not a bad idea. It's sponsored by the Global Public-Private Partnership for Hand washing with Soap  (PPPHW) a  coalition of international stakeholders (like soap manufacturers, etc) whose focus is hand washing and child health.

October 15th is the day, and it is directed toward Children, perhaps if the message sinks in,the day will come when the government and the States will be able to save some money by not posting as many wordy
signs in bathrooms like the ones we see now.

Of course, waiting for that to happen make take more time than I personally have, so fortunately, I've  mastered the art of opening restroom doors with my elbow.

I think that TV reporter Don Farmer also has a good idea.  He thinks that all the "Wash your hands" signs could be shortened, and even more effective with one simple sign that reads: