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Study: Americans have bad bathroom habits

PHOENIX — It looks like most of us need better habits in the bathroom.

A new Michigan State University study said 95 percent of Americans do not wash their hands for long enough after using the restroom.

The findings irritate Leah Hershberger, who is a nurse at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Phoenix.

“We’ve all been in public restrooms, and we’ve all seen people walk out without washing their hands,” she said. “My first thought, immediately is ‘All of the things that they touch, then I am touching. Even if I have washed my hands properly, I am subjected to the germs that are out there, because other people aren’t washing.'”

Hershberger said that could lead to the spread of a lot of germs and diseases.

“Crypto, which is a bacteria that can make people very, very sick. The flu, colds, hepatitis — hepatitis A in particular,” she said. “You can be exposed to all of those if people don’t wash their hands well enough.”

Hershberger said there is an easy way to make sure your hands are clean: sing.

“You want to moisten your hands, put the soap on your hands, then have good scrubbing activity with the soap,” she said, adding that you should keep the soap on your hands for about the same length of time it takes to sing “Happy Birthday,” then rinse. You should also use hand sanitizer as often as possible.

Hershberger also suggested that, when leaving a public restroom, you should put a paper towel between your hand and the door handle so that you won’t catch the germs that were left by the last person.


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