What You Miss the Most When Washing Up
Germs can transfer onto your hands when you touch anything from a shopping cart to a toilet seat.
You’re more likely to encounter germs when you use the bathroom, where your chances of touching tiny, imperceptible particles of feces, or poop, are high. Feces can contain a host of bacteria like Salmonella and E. coli, and viruses like norovirus (stomach flu) and enteroviruses (hand, foot and mouth disease), that can make you sick. One gram of feces can contain one trillion germs.
Germs can also stick to your hands when you touch an object that someone who is sick has touched, coughed or sneezed on. When you don’t wash these germs off your hands, they can make you sick, or you can transmit them to someone else and make them sick.
“From doorknobs to your phone, your fingers touch everything, which is why you should focus on cleaning your hands instead of other things around you,” says Chris Silkaitis, MT(ASCP), CIC, FAPIC, Northwestern Medicine director of Healthcare Epidemiology and Infection Prevention. “Properly washing your hands is the most important thing you can do to help reduce the transmission of germs since items can become re-contaminated.”