Wash Your Hands Part Deuce

In light of the Swine Flu matter taking place, I thought I would repost this piece on the importance of one washing his or her hands; you would think adults (16 and older) would have accumulated enough eduction to know and understand why this simple task is so important; yet, I am reminded that people just do not get it. Trust me, I just walked out of the restroom where I witnessed various members fail to keep the rest of us from getting sick.

Jared Diamond’s Guns, Germs, and Steel devote an entire chapter to the topic of diseases as a transformative shaper of the human condition. I found myself explaining to my World History class why certain states have been able to advance versus those that have not due to health, sanitation, and water treatment. In chapter 11 Diamond addresses the gift of animals to the human condition vis-à-vis diseases. He states:

Some of us adults, and even more of our children, pick up infectious diseases from our pets. Usually they remain no more than a nuisance, but a few have evolved into something far more serious. The major killers of humanity throughout our recent history smallpox, flu, tuberculosis, malaria, plague, measles, and cholera – are infectious diseases that evolved from diseases of animals, even though most of the microbes responsible for our own epidemic illnesses are paradoxically now almost confined to humans.

Although our contact with animals are still problematic as noted by our concerns of Bird Flu, some scientist contend that we should worry more about why such viruses are possible. Bird Flu, like that of other “animal viruses” emerged from our constant contact with animals; I recently read that simple things such as hand washing can go a long way as a preventive measure. I used to contend that only uneducated people failed to wash their hands multiple times per day, but that premise is clearly false as I have witnessed fellow colleagues of substantial intellect use the rest room but fail to wash their hands before exiting. I am really bothered by this when I witness fellow historians engaging in this behavior; I am sure they are aware of the impact the flu or the common cold have had on states throughout history. I think back to Cholera, which spread via contaminated food and water supplies, was the great killer of city dwellers; it arrived in the early 1830s in Europe and returned (I think) multiple times pre 20th century.

Photo //ht:WalkerParkhill

Funny, but a couple of years ago I seriously considered not shaking hands with people, especially men. A recent statistic illustrated that only 56 percent of men wash their hands after attending the restroom in comparison to 91 percent of women. Honestly, I think the 56 percent is high. Have you noticed that most restaurants post signs in their restrooms informing employees to wash before returning to work; I am convinced such signs are designed to make me feel better about eating their food, though I have been informed that it is a mandate by the state.

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15 thoughts on “Wash Your Hands Part Deuce

  1. Carson,

    I am pretty sure you mean “Part Deuce,” not “Part Duce.” Duce is what the Italians called Mussolini. Deuce is Latin for the number two.

    But, being a Historian does give you the right to make up words…

  2. You remember the movie V for Vendetta? You think the Mexican Government is manufacturing a “plague” to consolidate their power? Ahhh…just kidding. But I love a good conspiracy theory.

  3. I’d like to know a couple of things: In what world does 16 constitute an adult and why aren’t we allowed to kick people in the shins who don’t wash their hands? I think that a good, swift blow to the shins would stop most people of this absolutely disgusting public health problem.

  4. Carson,

    I completely agree with you! People who do not wash their hands after they use the restroom disgust me! I do not understand why people would not wash their hands. It takes someone maybe 45 seconds to wash their hands. I know we all live busy lives, but taking 45 seconds out of your day to wash you hands and keep you healthy, will not hurt anyone. It is ridiculous but I hope with the swine flu going around that people really take notice and get into the habit of washing their hands.

  5. I could not agree more with your stance! I see students everyday that go to the restroom and dont wash their hands. They are being very selfish in a sense to everyones health and their own. In my opinion that is just plain disgusting. I also too believe that there should be some sort of device to let everyone know whether or not that person washed their hands or not. But the only thing that i would say is that its not only the MEN!!! Iv seen my sister and her hygiene habits and they are probably the worst than any man i have ever seen. Its not all men or all women but the majority of them both needs to be educated of the consequences of not washing their hands.

  6. Actually, Hanora, that is not necessarily the case. Men’s restrooms are often found to have fewer illness causing bacteria present than women’s. This could be due to a number of factors, but it definitely keeps your blanket statement from being true.

  7. I wash my hands every day. Whether I am eating or I went to the bathroom I always wash them. I think it is fairly funny that now people are starting to make a big deal about washing hands due to the Swine Flu.

  8. I’m confused about the article there isn’t anything anything such as germs. Plus isn’t the swine flu just a hoax created so we actually have a reason to keep people south of the border out. Science is phony and there is no such thing as “Bacteria” or “Viruses” or this hamdemic…I mean pandemic.Oh yeah and Hanora 45 seconds compounded a life time (given you wash your hands 3 times a day) means that you spend 46 days of your life washing your hands. That’s like 2 or 3 rounds of Call Of Duty. Please explain to me why being sick a day or two because you picked up a cold or the swine flu, even though there is no such thing, makes up for the days of my life that have been lost.

  9. Continuation of my last post…sorry for not thinking of it earlier. I had an epiphany of what do to about the said “sanitation” issue because people don’t wash their hands. The only way to solve this issue is to do away with bathrooms and just have open fields. After all all the “germs” you get are from the bathroom handles and such.

  10. Taylor,

    Sorry to say but I much, much rather spend that time washing my hands and staying clean, rather than playing a video game…

  11. Alright, Hanora tomorrow you’ll spend 45 minutes washing your hands while I play Call of Duty for 45 minutes. Then we’ll see who obviously is thinking rationally.

  12. I don’t know why it’s so difficult for people to not wash their hands after they use the restroom.

    It takes like 20 seconds, and you bring out an appearance of awful hygiene if you are being watched, and no one would want to talk to you.

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