Proper hand washing helps slow the spread of germs

Published 10:30 am Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Last week I shared about my efforts to get in better shape with an exercise and diet plan. I know that a change in eating patterns and daily routines can occasionally lead to some digestive issues so I thought my gut problems of late were temporary and related to these changes. 

Peanut butter toast seemed like a quick and easy breakfast, and I had been hitting the Jiff pretty hard. It has always been my brand of choice, but you can imagine my dismay when I heard the news about tainted peanut butter. When I checked my half eaten jar I realized my upset stomach had a lot more to do with the peanut butter than my change of diet! I was pleased when Wal-Mart refunded my money for the other two unopened jars I had in the pantry in case you guys have some to return.

I’m fairly certain that everyone knows to look at their peanut butter to see if it’s one of the bad batch, but just in case you don’t know what to do go to Jiff recall on your smart phone, and you can find all the information needed. 

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My Papaw was a farmer, and he grew some of the best watermelon I have ever tasted. He grew the standard red melons, but yellow and orange ones too. All the grandchildren spent many a summer’s day sitting under the old pecan tree eating until we were full as ticks.

We ran and played all over that hill in Neshoba County. We were barefoot and happy, but I don’t think I always washed my hands before digging into my afternoon treat. In fact, I’m pretty sure that I had just moments before been gathering eggs or catching grasshoppers so there is no telling what germs might have been lurking under my nails.

Maybe that is why the peanut butter didn’t really make me sick. By now my stomach is probably made of cast iron, but I promise that I did learn to wash my hands somewhere along life’s journey.  Hand washing, even for surgeons, wasn’t practiced until the mid 1800’s, and it was slow to catch on.

According to the 1940 census only about half of American homes had a bathroom so regular hand washing was much more limited. Good personal hygiene was touted, recently, as a means to slow the spread of the coronavirus and has made the public much more diligent in their efforts. 

Hand washing is more than just smearing a little soap on and rinsing. According to health experts proper hand washing includes the following steps:

  1. Wet your hands with clean running water.
  2. Apply soap and lather for 20 seconds.
  3. Wash under rings.
  4. Rinse with running water.
  5. Dry with a clean paper towel or air dry.

Sometimes 20 seconds seems like a long time to lather my hands, but it’s totally worth the extra few minutes to promote good health. 

Jan Penton Miller writes a weekly column for The Oxford Eagle.