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Steer clear of men's hands: women wash their hands more often and thoroughly
Washing your hands thoroughly is one of the most important measures to protect yourself against diseases such as the flu or the common cold. But above all, the strong gender obviously doesn't take hygiene very seriously. According to a recent study, women wash their hands more often and more thoroughly than men.
Numerous infectious diseases are transmitted through the hands
According to estimates by the World Health Organization (WHO), up to 80 percent of all infectious diseases are transmitted via the hands. According to medical experts, the risk of developing gastrointestinal infections, diarrhea, flu or the common cold can be significantly reduced by washing your hands properly. But many people obviously don't take hand hygiene as exactly as a new study shows. Accordingly, only eight percent wash their hands correctly. Men in particular have some catching up to do here.
Washing your hands thoroughly protects against illnesses
Even at a young age, children are taught to wash their hands before eating or after playing or going to the toilet.
It is important that the hands are not only quickly held under the tap, but are thoroughly cleaned. Because for good protection against infectious diseases, hand washing must take place correctly and long enough.
From an expert's point of view, 20 to 30 seconds are required to rinse off all pathogens. To get a feeling for this period of time, the children's aid organization Unicef recommends singing the song "Happy Birthday" twice while washing hands.
In adulthood, many people no longer think about the most important hygiene rule and think that washing hands is a matter of course.
Nevertheless, some are a bit careless, as students of the Faculty of Applied Psychology at the private SRH University in Heidelberg found in an observational study of 1,000 people.
Keep away the flu virus
Although the flu rages like never before, it would actually be easy to keep the pathogens away: "The risk of infection with viruses and bacteria can be reduced by up to 99.9% by properly performing hand hygiene," says a message from the private university.
Because around 80 percent of all contagious diseases are transmitted through the hands, with which we touch our face an average of 16 times an hour.
In this way, the germs enter our body through the mouth, nose and eyes via the mucous membranes and develop there for infection.
Toilet visitors observed
Ten psychology students from SRH Heidelberg University observed the visitors of several public toilets in and around Heidelberg during their experimental internship.
They looked at 1,000 toilet visitors and found that around seven percent did not wash their hands at all. 27 percent only washed their hands with water and around 58 percent used water and soap, but not with the required thoroughness.
Only around eight percent cleaned their hands in an exemplary manner.
With or without soap?
Like other experts, the Federal Center for Health Education (BZgA) recommends cleaning with water and soap for at least 20 seconds, not only on the palms of the hands but also on the spaces between the fingers.
While it is not true that washing hands without soap is pointless, health experts say that using soap is much more effective because it removes dirt and microbes from the skin better than water alone.
The water temperature is not so important. However, fat and dirt dissolve somewhat more easily in warm water.
Significant difference between the sexes
As shown in the Heidelberg study, there was also a significant difference in hand washing behavior between the sexes.
While around eleven percent of men completely avoided the cleaning ritual, it was only three percent of women.
With water and soap, but without considering the intensity, at least 82 percent of the women examined touched the contagion germs.
It was only 51 percent for men. Hand contact with men therefore carries a higher risk of transmission. "We were shocked by this difference," said SRH student Jana Zeeb.
“In Germany alone, the pharmaceutical industry made sales of more than 700 million euros with cold fluids in 2016. Not only the costs for the individual, but also for society and the economy are enormous, ”explained Prof. Dr. Frank Musolesi, head of the observational study.
The days of incapacity for work also mean production losses of several billion euros for the German economy.
"Infectious diseases can be effectively and inexpensively avoided by washing your hands regularly, and without any side effects," says Musolesi. (ad)