Q:

What are some facts about hand washing?

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Quick Answer

Facts about hand washing include the percentages of people who wash their hands, when hands should be washed and how hand washing prevents the spread of germs. Other facts related to hand washing include the number of germs people come in contact with each day.

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Full Answer

While 96 percent of people say they wash their hands, a 2010 survey found that only 85 percent of people actually did wash their hands after using a public restroom. The same survey discovered that 89 percent of people say they wash their hands at home after using the restroom. While money and pets carry many germs, only 27 and 42 percent of people, respectively, wash their hands after coming into contact with these things.

Hands should be washed after using the restroom, after changing diapers, after blowing the nose, before and after eating, and before, during and after preparing or cooking food, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Additionally, people should wash hands after petting, feeding, or cleaning up after animals.

Because germs are on virtually everything and can easily be transferred by touching, hand washing is the first line of defense in preventing disease. A trillion germs can be found in 1 gram of human waste. With proper hand washing, these germs won't enter the body as easily. The practice can reduce cases of diarrhea by 31 percent and colds or respiratory illnesses by 21 percent.

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