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The single most effective way to prevent the spread of communicable disease is good hand hygiene. Close quarters and constant interactions on campus bring you in contact with a variety of bacteria and viruses that can get you or those around you sick. The influenza virus alone can survive on surfaces from two to eight hours.

In addition to the common cold or flu, there are many illnesses that can be prevented by hand washing: meningitis, hepatitis A, numerous food-borne illnesses (e.g., salmonella and E. coli), and methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA or “staph”), just to name a few.

In a recent Student Health 101 survey of about 1,200 students, nearly 97 percent said they wash after using the bathroom. But only 65 percent do so before eating, and even fewer (62 percent) after coughing, sneezing, or blowing their nose.

Use Good Technique

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There’s an art to washing your hands:

  • Wet your hands with clean, running warm water and apply soap.
  • Rub your hands together and scrub all surfaces, including underneath nails. It takes 20-30 seconds to effectively remove germs, about the time to sing “Happy Birthday” twice.
  • Rinse hands under running water and dry your hands using a towel or air dryer.  If possible, use the towel to turn off the faucet. (If using non-disposable towels, make sure to launder frequently.)
  • Anti-bacterial soaps are all the craze, but aren’t necessary if you use proper washing technique. Overuse of these products can create resistance in bacteria, too.

Wash your hands BEFORE and AFTER:

  • Preparing food, especially raw meat or poultry
  • Eating
  • Caring for someone who is ill or injured
  • Treating a cut or wound
  • Inserting or removing contact lenses

Wash your hands AFTER:

  • Blowing your nose, sneezing, or coughing
  • Changing diapers
  • Handling animals
  • Handling trash
  • Whenever your hands appear dirty

Tired of seeing people use the bathroom without washing their hands?

You could stealthily place an instructional poster. Browse through these resources:
In a recent Student Health 101 survey of nearly 1,200 students, 21 percent would speak up if someone didn’t wash their hands after using the bathroom. Another 48 percent aren’t sure. Here are some ideas from students if you’d like to say something to the offender, from the straight forward to the creative.

Straight To the Point
  • Hope you washed and flushed!
  • Um... you forgot to do something...
  • Excuse me, you know you didn’t wash your hands?
  • Dude gross. Come on, germs, man.
  • Please wash your hands.
  • So, you’re not going to wash your hands? You’re just going to use the bathroom and walk right out?
  • Hey, sorry—it is gonna be a bit awkward for me to say—but I think you forgot to wash your hands.
Creative
  • Excuse me, can I open the door before you touch it?
  • It is flu season you know! (Smile and try to be warm about it.)
  • That door handle is really dirty. I would wash your hands and open the door with a paper towel.
  • Hey, you might get yourself sick if you don’t wash those germs off.
  • You don’t want to get sick and miss classes!
  • Sing “bac-ter-i-a” as they leave the bathroom.
Hand Sanitizer
  • Would you like some hand sanitizer? (And use some, too.)
  • Hey, here’s some sanitizer.
  • Here, use my hand sanitizer. It smells really good.

Hand Sanitizer Tips

  • You can use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available or there is no visible dirt on your hands.
  • The product needs to contain at least 60 percent alcohol to be effective.
  • Squeeze some product into one palm, and rub over all surfaces of hands and fingers until dry.

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What was the most interesting thing you read in this article?

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HAVE YOU SEEN AT LEAST ONE THING IN THIS ISSUE THAT...

..you will apply to everyday life?

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utilize campus resources, or help a friend?

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How can we get more people to read ?
First Name:

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Want to increase your chance to win?

Refer up to 5 of your friends and when each visits Student Health 101, you will receive an additional entry into the weekly drawing.

Please note: Unless your friend chooses to opt-in, they will never receive another email from Student Health 101 after the initial referral email.

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HAVE YOU SEEN AT LEAST ONE THING IN THIS ISSUE THAT...

..you will apply to everyday life?

..caused you to get involved, ask for help,
utilize campus resources, or help a friend?

Tell us more.
How can we get more people to read ?

First Name:

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E-mail:

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Want to increase your chance to win?

Refer up to 5 of your friends and when each visits Student Health 101, you will receive an additional entry into the weekly drawing.

Please note: Unless your friend chooses to opt-in, they will never receive another email from Student Health 101 after the initial referral email.

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