Wash Your Hands

I think there are two types of people who don’t wash their hands after using a public toilet.

Some people may feel like they’re in a rush and don’t have time to wash their hands. Maybe someone is waiting for them, maybe they have a plane or train to catch. In their minds, there’s not enough time to run the tap, lather their hands in soap and wash them for at least 20 seconds. 

Not enough time. We take that risk, weighing up the cost of not bothering to do it. This time we can get away with not doing washing our hands. The reason we’re rushing is more important. (It’s only our own and public health that’s at risk when we don’t wash our hands)

Or, there’s the kind of person who has never washed their hands. Perhaps they weren’t taught how to wash their hands properly. Perhaps the culture in their family, school or friendship group (tribe) wasn’t to wash their hands – it’s not something we do.

(Maybe they haven’t seen or heard the hundreds of government warnings over the past few months about the importance of hand washing?)

This type of behaviour is harder to change. These people don’t believe they’ve ever been negatively affected by not washing their hands. Maybe they’ve not experienced the adverse effects of it. Or if they have become ill in the past from not washing their hands, they didn’t associate it with that decision. 

The problem is, as I said above, it’s our health and the health of those around that we interact with that’s at risk. It’s an individual decision where we’re responsible for the collective impact.

Ignaz Semmelweis figured it out around 200 years ago. Yet, we still ignore that world changing discovery every single day.

Today, please wash your hands. Is there ever a time when you’ve not washed your hands? Why?