THE HEART OF THE MATTER
a special program of the National Emergency Medicine Association (NEMA) 

Week: 572.5 Topic: Hand washing vs. Germs Producer/Host: Steve Girard

NEMA: When did you last wash your hands...up next...

SPOT: For 15 years, the National Emergency Medicine Association has worked against stroke, heart disease and trauma. Join the effort, call 800-332-6362.

NEMA: Hold out your hands.... hmmm, not bad. Now let me see the backs! Aha! Don't you know you have to wash both sides before you come to the dinner table? Remember those words? Or perhaps you always washed up... well, good for you... because it will probably help you avoid some health problems today.

It may have been a lack of hand washing that caused a food poisoning outbreak in Minnesota social event a couple years back... the woman prepared the chicken salad at the day care facility she owned.

So, in a Centers for Disease Control report, a study looked at how many people actually wash their hands after using a public bathroom. Percentage wise, take a guess.... Broken down by gender.... while about 90% of men said they always wash their hands afterward... only 61 % actually did. Women? 98% said they always do... but only 74% were observed cleaning up.

The study shows people don't wash after coughing or sneezing, petting animals or handling money... and don't wash long enough. It takes at least 30 seconds to kill the bacteria on your hands.... while many of us just do the old pass your hands under the water and wipe off procedure.

So, do your bit to prevent the spread of bacteria... and stay healthy, by washing up... especially before preparing food. I'm Steve Girard at The Heart of the Matter.