Where ‘normal’ and ‘abnormal’ begins and ends is a subjective matter.  For example, I see people who have obsessive-compulsive disorder, who are compelled  to wash their hands over and over out of fears of contamination. On the other hand, we were taught in med school to wash their hands before and after every patient contact.

“Wash your hands” remains the best preventative for contracting bugs.

Every time we go to a restaurant, after I order I go wash my hands prior to eating. I do this out of habit. I also know just before I sat down I touched the restaurant door handle, which was grasped by everybody who entered the restaurant.  Not to disparage my fellow man, but I suspect some of them have dirty unwashed hands.

Thanks to my training in infectious disease, I use ‘proper technique’ when washing my hands. This often gets me odd looks in the men’s room.  After washing thorgouhly  I use my elbow or the back of hand to extract paper from the towel dispensers, to turn off the faucets, or to touch anything else as my hands are now clean. This prevents re-contamination. Leaving the john is sometimes a challenge: I have just washed my hands but now I have to use the knob everyone else touches after taking a leak.   Spo-fans of the female variety will be shocked, shocked, SHOCKED, to learn many men do not wash their hands after using the bathroom. To open the door I have to use a paper towel or a scrap of toilet paper.  If there is none available (damn air blowers!)  I will either wait for the door to open (if there is regular traffic) or grasp the handle/knob through some clothing.

It is just not humanly possible to avoid germs. Ironically, too much handwashing and/or using antimicrobial soap strips us of our ‘good germs’ which prevent bad germs from taking over. All the same, proper hand washing technique has helped me keep vmy share of colds and flu etc. to a minimum.

And for Spo-fans of a male persuasion, please please wash your hands after taking a leak won’t you! ?

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