Headline, July 04 2020/ ''' '' HAND WARS HOUR '' '''

''' '' HAND WARS HOUR '' '''

IN 2009 - THE LONDON SCHOOL OF HYGIENE AND TROPICAL MEDICINE studied the impact of intervention messaging in public bathrooms at rest areas along highways in England.

Out of 14 different messages, '' Is the person next to you washing their hands?'' proved to be the most effective at changing behavior. So if we all start washing our hands more, others may be more likely to follow.

Dr. Elaine Larson, professor emeritus of nursing research and professor emeritus of epidemiology at  Columbia University, who is considered one of the world's leading authorities on hand hygiene agrees that ''clean hands save lives.''

In 1980, Dr. Larson wrote her dissertation on hand-washing and devoted the subsequent 40 years to  studying infection prevention and spreading the message that ''clean hands save lives''.

My neurologist father maintained that  hand-washing was our family's single greatest obligation to one another and to the world.

''As you know, it's the No.1 way to prevent disease transmission,'' Dr. Beauregard Lee Bercaw would say to my brother and me every single night before sitting down to dinner. ''Your hands are clean, right?''

If we hemmed or hawed, we were banished to our bathroom to scrub as if we were surgeons, not children.

Sometimes he'd stand behind at the sink and provide a verbal inventory of ailments caused by poor sanitation and hygiene, throwing in the names of diseases he'd seen during his years spent practicing medicine in the tropics during the Vietnam War but found nowhere near our Florida home  :

''Meningitis...  Hepatitis...  Salmonella...  Staphylococcus... Streptocococcus, Giardiasis,,,  Schistosomiasis... Cholera... Typhoid,...''.
His litanies would last for at least 30 seconds, so there was no need for either of us to mumble through ''Happy Birthday'' twice.

But as the years passed, I grew increasingly numb to my father's germ warfare tactics and ever more reluctant to follow his orders.

By age 14, my focus was on improving my appearance with acne treatments and avoiding the watchful eye of my father. By lingering in the bathroom, I was able to do both.

After a protracted cease-fire in the hand-washing wars, I was ambushed one afternoon when I was 15 by a loud pounding on the bathroom door.

I opened to see my father's face twisted with fresh worries as he conveyed an ominous message in a matter-of-fact tone. ''Kelly Dineen is going blind in her right eye because she didn't wash her hands''.

Kelly, who was my best friend and the daughter of my father's best friend, had woken up one morning with blurry vision in her left eye and, two days later, had lost most of her central vision in it.

One of the early theories, propounded by my father, was that she'd contracted toxoplasmosis from cat faeces, though later a leading eye doctor diagnosed her as having inflammatory disorder called multifocal choroiditis, a condition that had nothing to do with whether or not she had washed her hands.

It wasn't until many years later, as a Peace Corps volunteer living in a rural village in Kenya, that I finally joined my father's army of fanatical hand-washers.

For the first few months in my rural village, I was plagued by diarrhea. Only by scrubbing methodically before every meal with boiled water and soap could I avoid getting sick.

The correlation between cleanliness and health suddenly became clear and present in my life.

Now, amid the coronavirus pandemic and the gradual loosening of restrictions as shutdown ease, I find myself listening lamenting what seems to be the reluctance among some people - including my 16-year-old-son - to wash their hands as if their lives depend upon it.

Why do we have to keep reminding others to perform this one simple but potentially lifesaving act?  Because this virus will remain with us. Don't become its unwitting friend. Commit to one change. And if not for you, then the people you love.

The Honor and Serving of the Latest Global Operational Research on World, Hygiene and Survival. The World Students Society thanks the author : Nancy Stearns Barcaw.

With respectful dedication to Mankind and Survival, and then Students, Professors and Teachers of the World. See Ya all prepare and register for Great Global Elections on The World Students Society : wssciw.blogspot.com and Twitter - !E-WOW! - The Ecosystem 2011:

''' Preventive Perennial '''

Good Night and God Bless

SAM Daily Times - the Voice of the Voiceless


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