Thursday, November 19, 2009

On Washing Hands

The most powerful and unsettling statement in the essay, “On Washing Hands”, written by Atul Gawande is the sentence “no part of the human skin is spared from bacteria”. It is startling to know that so many bacterial counts can show up on your skin, especially on your hands and in hair on parts of your body. Bacterial counts on the hands vary from “five thousand to five million colony forming units per square meter”. It makes sense though since we use our hands for many different purposes throughout the day.
Alcohol rinses and gels have been recently introduced to help cut down on the amount of hand washing. If you wash your hands to much it can cause your hands to dry out and harbor bacteria on them. This defeats the whole purpose of washing your hands. Alcohol rinses and gels are much quicker than washing your hands with soap and water as well. This helps to cut down on the amount of time that company’s staff needs to go and actually wash their hands with soap and water. If people take the time to use the different methods to clean their hands, we can cut down on the bacterial counts. The statement, “no part of the human skin is spared from bacteria” can also not sound so negative.

2 comments:

  1. It also makes me think about the part where he mentions that skin can become irritated due to too much washing which then leads to greater concentration of bacteria on the skin! its crazy that one simply task can lead to a lot of harm to oneself and other people too.

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