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Infection Control

April Fools

September 19, 2010
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More so as of late, I have found myself observing the hygiene habits of individuals while out in public.

Included in my areas of observation are restaurants, bars, restrooms, office environments and various other establishments open to the general public — as long as you are a paying customer.

Given the recent hysteria of the H1N1 influenza A (swine flu) pandemic — which the World Health Organization (WHO) and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warn of making a resurgence in the coming months — I expected people to be more wary of who and what they come into contact with.

During one of my recent escapades to a local watering hole, I noted the interaction between a group of presumed friends.

One of the individuals repeatedly coughed into his hand before proceeding to shake the hand of another and wiped his runny nose with the back of his hand before hugging someone else.

I do not consider myself a germaphobe or any variation of the like; however, even I was put off by this chain of events.

On another night and under a different circumstance, I found myself in the restroom of my favorite fine dining establishment.

Whoever was responsible for designing this restroom clearly knew what the male populace wanted, and so I found myself temporarily glued to the flat screen television mounted just above the spot- and streak-free mirror.

I have always been one to frequently wash my hands — not out of fear for germ contamination, but simply because I dislike the feeling of greasy soils on my hands.

While fixated on the game, I saw several men leave the restroom without the slightest inkling to wash their hands.

I saw others quickly rinse with water alone before grabbing more than twice the necessary amount of paper towels to dry their still-soiled hands.

After watching the majority of these gentlemen grab the same handle and pull the door ajar to return to their tables and finish their meals with their significant others, I cringed.

After promising myself it would never happen, I now carry a small container of hand sanitizer with me wherever I go.

And, in the case I forget to grab it on my way out of the door, I keep a backup bottle in my truck.

Practice proper hygiene and wash your hands often, for one never knows where others have been or what they have done.

As numerous health organization recommend, using a hand sanitizer is a viable replacement for hand washing in the absence of soap and water.

Since we are social beings and cannot survive as hermits, it is imperative that you protect yourself in the presence of others.

Ignorance is bliss, but education saves lives.

I urge you not to be an April fool.

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