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Have You Been Washing Your Hands Correctly? The Answer Is Probably No

Have You Been Washing Your Hands Correctly? The Answer Is Probably No

In 1847, Dr Ignaz P. Semmelweiss, a Hungarian obstetrician, realized that the occurrence of infections and mortality in newborns could be considerably reduced by practicing proper hand hygiene. As this was before the confirmation of the germ theory by Louis Pasteur, Semmelweis could not give any acceptable scientific explanation for his discovery. He was committed to an insane asylum by his colleagues when they became offended by his attempt to promote better hand-washing habits among them. His realization earned widespread acceptance within a few years of his death.

Washing hands has been proven to be able to significantly decrease the spread of so many diseases. Poor hand hygiene practices are the primary cause of many illnesses, starting with the common cold to more grave infections such as meningitis, hepatitis A, and many varieties of infectious diarrhea.

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However, most people take less than 10 seconds to wash their hands. They wash mostly the palms of their hands and usually miss the remaining areas. Fingertips hold more bacteria than the palms, and there is a germ stronghold under your nails.

The Horrifying Truth

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Amelia asking Reese to Share

    Most people assume that the transference of diseases by “touch” means getting infected by being in physical contact with an infected person. But the fact is “touch” primarily refers to touching your own mouth, eyes, and nose, or the touching of food you are about to consume with your own contaminated unwashed hands. This “touch” transfers approximately 80% of communicable diseases.

    The number one cause of child mortality is pneumonia. Respiratory illnesses like the common cold, the flu, and pneumonia can be communicated by touching your face with contaminated hands. The second-most widespread cause of childhood death is diarrhea. Touching food with unwashed hands can lead to diarrhea and other food-borne infections like E. Coli, Salmonella, and Staph. Washing your hands can decrease diarrhea rates by at least 40%.

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    The two most crucial times for washing your hands are after using the bathroom and before handling food. But the horrifying truth is that only 20% of people actually wash their hands before touching food. Any area you touch in a bathroom, from the door handle and the flush knob to the faucet, is covered with germs. When a toilet is flushed with the lid open, bacteria such as E. Coli and Staph float in the fine mist which finally settles, covering every inch of the bathroom. The percentage of women washing their contaminated hands after a toilet jaunt is just 75%, while it is a shocking 50% for men.

    The WHO Steps to Clean and Safe Hands

    The World Health Organization recommends the following effective hand-washing technique and outlines the following steps. This is much more effective than “Apply soap all over your hands and wash it off.”

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      Though ideally you should wash your hands for at least 30 seconds, the minimum recommended time is 15 seconds.That extra 15 seconds can remove 10 times more bacteria. Using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer for just 30 seconds can kill the same amount of bacteria as two whole minutes of washing your hands with soap and water.

      Featured photo credit: Flickr via flickr.com

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      Last Updated on July 23, 2019

      5 Steps To Move Out Of Stagnancy In Life

      5 Steps To Move Out Of Stagnancy In Life

      In the journey of growth, there are times when we grow and excel. We are endlessly driven and hyped up, motivated to get our goals.

      Then there are times when we stagnate. We feel uninspired and unmotivated. We keep procrastinating on our plans. More often than not, we get out of a rut, only to get back into another one.

      How do you know if you are stagnating? Here are some tell-tale signs:

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      • If you have been experiencing chronic procrastination on your goals
      • If you don’t ever feel like doing anything
      • If you keep turning to sleep, eating, games, mindless activities and entertainment for comfort
      • If you know you should be doing something, but yet you keep avoiding it
      • If you have not achieved anything new or significant now relative to 1 month, 2 months or 3 months ago
      • If you have a deep sense of feeling that you are living under your potential

      When we face stagnation in life, it’s a sign of deeper issues. Stagnation, just like procrastination, is a symptom of a problem. It’s easy to beat ourselves over it, but this approach is not going to help. Here, I will share 5 steps to help you move out of this stagnation. They won’t magically transform your life in 1 night (such changes are never permanent because the foundations are not built), but they will help you get the momentum going and help you get back on track.

      1. Realize You’re Not Alone

      Everyone stagnates at some point or another. You are not alone in this and more importantly, it’s normal. In fact, it’s amazing how many of my clients actually face the same predicament, even though all of them come from different walks of life, are of different ages, and have never crossed paths. Realizing you are not alone in this will make it much easier to deal with this period. By trying to “fight it”, you’re only fighting yourself. Accept this situation, acknowledge it, and tell yourself it’s okay. That way, you can then focus on the constructive steps that will really help you.

      2. Find What Inspires You

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      Stagnation comes because there isn’t anything that excites you enough to take action. If you don’t have a habit of setting goals, and instead just leave yourself to daily mundanes, it’s not surprising you are experiencing stagnation. What do you want to do if there are no limitations? If you can have whatever you want, what will it be? The answers to these questions will provide the fuel that will drive you forward.

      On the other hand, even if you are an experienced goal setter, there are times when the goals you set in the past lose their appeal now. It’s normal and it happens to me too. Sometimes we lose touch with our goals, since we are in a different emotional state compared to when we first set them. Sometimes our priorities change and we no longer want to work on those goals anymore. However, we don’t consciously realize this, and what happens is we procrastinate on our goals until it compounds into a serious problem. If that’s the case for you, it’s time to relook into your goals. There’s no point in pursuing goals that no longer inspire you. Trash away your old goals (or just put them aside) and ask yourself what you really want now. Then go for them.

      3. Give Yourself a Break

      When’s the last time you took a real break for yourself? 3 months? 6 months? 1 year? Never? Perhaps it’s time to take a time-out. Prolonged working can cause someone to become disillusioned as they lose sight of who they are and what they want.

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      Go take some extended leave from work. A few days at bare minimum; a few weeks or months will be great. Some of my ex-colleagues have quit their jobs and took months out to do some self-reflection. Of course, some of us might not have that luxury, so we can stick to a few weeks of leave. Go on a trip elsewhere and get away from your work and your life. Use this chance to get a renewed perspective of life. Think about your life purpose, what you want and what you want to create for your life in the future. These are big questions that require deep thinking over them. It’s not about finding the answers at one go, but about taking the first step to finding the answers.

      4. Shake up Your Routines

      Being in the same environment, doing the same things over and over again and meeting the same people can make us stagnant. This is especially if the people you spend the most time with are stagnant themselves.

      Change things around. Start with simple things, like taking a different route to work and eating something different for breakfast. Have your lunch with different colleagues, colleagues you never talked much with. Work in a different cubicle if your work has free and easy seating. Do something different than your usual for weekday evenings and weekends. Cultivate different habits, like exercising every day, listening to a new series of podcasts every morning to work, reading a book, etc (here’s 6 Proven Ways To Make New Habits Stick). The different contexts will give you different stimulus, which will trigger off different thoughts and actions in you.

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      When I’m in a state of stagnancy, I’ll get a sense of what’s making me stagnate. Sometimes it’s the environment I’m in, sometimes it’s the people I’ve been hanging out with, sometimes it’s my lifestyle. Most of the times it’s a combination of all these. Changing them up helps to stir myself out of the stagnant mode.

      5. Start with a Small Step

      Stagnation also comes from being frozen in fear. Maybe you do want this certain goal, but you aren’t taking action. Are you overwhelmed by the amount of work needed? Are you afraid you will make mistakes? Is the perfectionist in you taking over and paralyzing you?

      Let go of the belief that it has to be perfect. Such a belief is a bane, not a boon. It’s precisely from being open to mistakes and errors that you move forward. Break down what’s before you into very very small steps, then take those small steps, a little step at a time. I had a client who had been stagnating for a long period because he was afraid of failing. He didn’t want to make another move where he would make a mistake. However, not wanting to make a mistake has led him to do absolutely nothing for 2-3 years. On the other hand, by doing just something, you would already be making progress, whether it’s a mistake or not. Even if you make a supposed “mistake”,  you get feedback to do things differently in the next step. That’s something you would never have known if you never made a move.

      More to Help You Stay Motivated

      Here are some resources that will help you break out of your current phase:

      Featured photo credit: Anubhav Saxena via unsplash.com

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