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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 March 13, 2019

      How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

      How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

      Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

      You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

      Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

      1. Work on the small tasks.

      When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

      Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

      2. Take a break from your work desk.

      Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

      Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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      3. Upgrade yourself

      Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

      The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

      4. Talk to a friend.

      Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

      Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

      5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

      If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

      Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

      Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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      6. Paint a vision to work towards.

      If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

      Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

      Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

      7. Read a book (or blog).

      The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

      Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

      Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

      8. Have a quick nap.

      If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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      9. Remember why you are doing this.

      Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

      What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

      10. Find some competition.

      Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

      Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

      11. Go exercise.

      Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

      Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

      As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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      Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

      12. Take a good break.

      Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

      Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

      Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

      Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

      More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

      Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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