Dr. Phil MohlerMOHLER'S MEDICATION MAXIMSGrand Junction Free Press Health & Wellness Columnist

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December 27, 2012
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MOHLER: Do you really wash your hands after using the bathroom?

Fecal bacteria (poop) were present on 26% of hands in England, 14% of banknotes and 10% of credit cards, according to new research carried out by hygiene experts from Queen Mary, University of London. The findings also suggested that 11% of hands were so "grossly contaminated" they were carrying as many germs as a dirty toilet bowl.In another United Kingdom study, 99% of patrons of a motorway restroom claimed they washed their hands after going to the toilet. Electronic recording devices revealed only 32% of men and 64% of women actually did. But we Americans are not any more hygienic than the Brits. A year ago, my brief, unscientific study in a men's restroom at the Salt Lake City airport revealed that only 6 of 20 men washed their hands after using the toilet.Influenza has arrived in the Grand Valley and diarrheal illnesses like the Norovirus persist in our community. Handwashing is easy to do and it's one of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of many types of infection. Clean hands can stop germs from spreading from one person to another and throughout an entire community.What is the right way to wash your hands? Here is the CDC's advice:• Wet your hands with clean running water (warm or cold) and apply soap. • Rub your hands together to make a lather and scrub them well; be sure to scrub the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails. • Continue rubbing your hands for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum (or sing out loud so the world knows you are hygienic) the "Happy Birthday" song from beginning to end twice. • Rinse your hands well under running water. • Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry.Dr. Mohler has practiced family medicine in Grand Junction for 38 years. He has a particular interest in pharmaceutical education. Phil works part-time for both Primary Care Partners and Rocky Mountain Health Plans.

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The Post Independent Updated Dec 27, 2012 12:45PM Published Dec 27, 2012 12:44PM Copyright 2012 The Post Independent. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.