Clean Hands Save Lives Essay

2538 words - 10 pages

“The greatest cheap medical fix in all of history: the bar of soap” (Zugar). Soap has turned the commercial industry upside down by allowing the development of any and every possible hand hygiene product to be created to soothe any person’s fear. Almost any kind of product imaginable to man is being made to keep germs on their toes. Ignaz Semmelweis, however, is often credited to having been the first scientist to further develop the germ theory by his idea of strengthening soap. In “1846” he helped hospitals put to use a stronger form of soap that had an “antiseptic agent” in it which consisted of a chloride solution (CDC 1). Handwashing is becoming one of the fastest growing medical concerns because hand hygiene saves lives. According to Nancy L. Pontius, a writer, “Every year, diarrhea and pneumonia kill more than 3.5 million children under age 5 worldwide. Many of them could have been saved by the simple act of washing hands” (United States. Dept. of State. Bur. of Foreign Policy). Using effective hand hygiene, which hinders the spread of germs, is vital to the prevention of disease and preservation of life.
Handwashing offers many beneficial effects. One such benefit is that it helps prevent disease. According to the Wisconsin Division of Public Health, illnesses such as “influenza, streptococcus, syncytial virus, and the common cold can be avoided after coughing, sneezing, and shaking hands.” Often by not washing one’s hands, illnesses such as these are passed around unconsciously because little thought is put into what germs could be residing on a person’s hand. This person’s hand could be the hand that fixed lunch for a group of individuals at a Subway or Taco Bell. He or she could be spreading their germs to the food that they touch, people they interact with, or surfaces grazed by accidently touching them. Alone, “salmonella infections are responsible for an estimated 1.4 million illnesses each year” (qtd. in School Network for Absenteeism Prevention). This means that there are this many contaminated food cases each year. Probably half of these cases would never have occurred if the food preparer had proper hygiene. Not washing one’s hands can cause the individual and many others as well to become sick. One such case occurred in Upland Road Kelburn, New Zealand, at a deli called, The Platter. The owner caused thirty six customers to come down with cases of hepatitis A resulting from his lack of adequate handwashing and food handling (Bailey 3). This man’s choice of neglecting his responsibility to produce sanitary food caused many people to become sick.
Improper cleaning of hands or not cleaning them at all allows microorganisms’ access to people. Common places where germs reside are computer keyboards, toilets, doorknobs, sinks, or animals. People often forget about these places, things, or other people and do not always consider them important enough to take the time to clean them. Escherichia coli, commonly known as E. coli,...

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