I originally wrote this in 2008, but now with over 20,000 confirmed cases of Coronavirus, and 426 deaths, it suddenly becomes even more important. While people are clambering for facemasks it has now been confirmed that with the right temperatures the Coronavirus has been observed to stay alive on a smooth surface for five days!
I was horrified in my last place of work to see how many people don’t wash their hands after doing their business. I shared the post below with them as a more subtle way of getting the message across without embarrassing anyone, but better embarrassed than risking Coronavirus don’t you think?
Here’s what I wrote 12 years ago. Nothing much has changed in the way people behave, which is pretty sad:
This is really a story about men’s hygiene in the bathroom, but it probably applies to some women as well. I was listening to the Ante Up Podcast as I showered this morning and they were talking about men who leave the washroom without washing their hands after doing their business.
Ante Up is a great podcast about Poker and has lots of great information for amateurs like myself and even those who think they know it all. What’s more, they very kindly played the new song I wrote, called I Tilted on their show.
Anyway, they covered an issue that really annoys me, which is guys who go to the toilet and then return to the poker table without having washed their hands. The thing is that of the guys that have been in and out of the bathroom at the same time as me in poker tournaments, as many as 50% do their business and return to the tables without using soap or water. Then they handle the cards, hand me their chips when I win them off them and share their germs with everyone on the table. How bad is that? Lots of people eat their fries or other food at the poker table while they are playing, they might lick a finger or thumb as they are dealing their cards and, well it doesn’t really bear thinking about. In this day and age, you would think that grown men would have more self-respect and concern for their health. I know that some women are the same, but I suspect the ratio would be far less.
I had a look at a website called 1st-in-handwashing.com and found:
The importance of handwashing can be assessed by looking at a list of germs found on human hands. Here are a few:
- Shigella flexneri…causes vomiting, headache, diarrhea
- Streptococcus pyrogens…causes tonsilitis, sore throats, scarlet fever,impetigo
- Salmonella … causes severe diarrhea, stomach pain, dizzyness, fever
- Rhino virus…over 200 strains causing great misery in the form of colds
- Proteus vulgaris…urinary tract infextions
- Hepatitis A…vomiting, liver disorders, jaundice
- Escherichia coli 0157 …kidney failure, uncontrollable fever, death
- Rotavirus …55,000 children hopitalized with this each year
- Echovirus…meningitis, encephalitis, neonatal sepsis, myocarditis, and chronic infection
- Coxsackie virus…sore throat, abdominal discomfort, or nausea
Now that’s just for starters.
Some years ago a popular hotel in New Zealand conducted tests on the peppermint jar at the restaurant counter, where people paid their bills after their meals. They tested mints that were not individually sealed but were there for people to help themselves to. Amongst other things, they found fecal coliforms, urine residue and even semen residue! These are new peppermints that people hadn’t yet enjoyed.
Now etiquette says that you don’t confront people, you don’t tell grown adults to wash their hands, and if I did I might find myself getting smacked for my trouble. But we’re supposed to be civilised, aren’t we? So what can you do? What everyone else does, when someone loses and leaves the table, you give them a firm handshake to make sure you don’t miss out on any of the germs that didn’t make it to the playing cards or the poker chips!
Does this make your stomach churn? Maybe if this is discussed in places like this blog, more people will be conscious of it and decide that even if they don’t care about giving their germs to other people, they might at least aim to wash the other people’s germs of their own hands.
You may think this is funny, but the number of germs that get shared and cause serious illness, that could be avoided by a little attention to hygiene.
Think about it. How many hands did you shake today? Have you touched any money lately? Have a sniff of that $5 note in your pocket and think about where that’s been and why does it smell? Now go and buy your lunch and watch the person handle your food with their gloves and then without taking them off, handle your money and change.
Scary isn’t it. Well, that’s my soapbox for today. Hope I made you think a little. See you at the poker table. My hands will be clean, at least when I first sit down.
Thanks for reading my soapbox, pardon the pun:)