SPOKANE, Wash. -- Investigators from the American Society for Microbiology surveyed public restrooms across the country and found that only 77 percent of people washed their hands after using the bathroom.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and World Health Organization, a 15 to 30 second hand wash is all it takes and is one of the most important steps to reduce the amount of all types of germs on your hands. It also reduces risk of spreading them to the people around you.
This season, we have all become more concerned about colds and flu so people are turning to antibacterial soaps and hand sanitizers to provide a little extra protection. Doctors said antibacterial soap is no better than ordinary soap. In fact, the additives can increase the risk of reactions and other side effects.
If soap and water are not available, antibacterial wipes can help. They are not as effective as hand washing but they will reduce the number of bacteria on your hands.
Hand sanitizer is faster and is better at killing bacteria and viruses than washing with soap and water. They do not kill all types of germs, such as norovirus, parasites or some bacteria that cause severe diarrhea.
The CDC said knowing when and how to clean your hands will give you the best chance of staying healthy. Their graph shows that bottom line hand sanitizer containing 60 percent to 95 percent isopropanol or ethanol is best when soap and water are not available.