Every day I learn something new at work. Yesterday I learned that doctors didn't wear gloves when they gave swine flu vaccines in 1976.
Today I learned I'm the last person on earth who doesn't know the rules for handwashing.
To back up - for the last week, whenever I've heard the words swine flu, I've felt the need to wash my hands immediately. On my third trip to the break room today (all before 7am), I started wondering if I was doing it right. I came back and asked the team "hey - should we do a segment on hand-washing?"
"Do you want to end up on the Daily Show?" "Are you kidding?" "Didn't you learn the birthday song rule?" "Come on - everyone's heard how to do it a thousand times."
Well hmph. What a bunch of wet blankets. (Love you guys!)
Since they won't let me put it on the showâ€¦Here we go:
My three questions: how long should you wash, does it matter how hot the water is, and is a bar of old-fashioned Ivory soap as good as the new-fangled antibacterialmicrobialeverything stuff.
Our medical department is working on the answers. I'll post them here after the show.
Meantime at 10:20, watch Heidi and Elizabeth Cohen answer your swine flu questions!
(Worried) producer for Heidi in the Newsroom
If anybody out there is a worrier (like me), here are the dirty details:
When washing hands with soap and water:
–Wet your hands with clean running water and apply soap. Use warm water if it is available.
–Rub hands together to make a lather and scrub all surfaces.
–Continue rubbing hands for 20 seconds. Need a timer? Imagine singing "Happy Birthday" twice through to a friend!
–Rinse hands well under running water
–Dry your hands using a paper towel or air dryer. If possible, use your paper towel to turn off the faucet
Remember: If soap and water are not available, use alcohol-based gel to clean hands.
As for the type of soap you use: a whole smorgasboard of studies out there...my bar of Ivory is just as good as the fancy antibacterial version.
Sources: In a 2005 CDC-P&G Beauty study, "researchers found that incidence of disease did not differ significantly between households given plain soap versus antibacterial soap." (www.cdc.gov)
A 2003 NIH-funded study also found that "antibacterial soap is no better a germ-killer than regular soap." (www.nih.gov)
from Sara Rudolph
(Still a little bit worried) producer for Heidi in the Newsroom