Friday, February 22, 2008

Pet Peeve and PSA

So one of my pet peeves is about public restrooms. Have you ever seen the signs that say:

This is all well and good. Of course we want people to wash their hands before returning to work, especially our waiters and waitresses, our doctors and nurses, our teachers and anyone else who may come in contact with lots of people throughout their daily course of work.

But, what about the rest of us? Don't we all need to wash our hands before returning to our daily business. How many adult have you seen walk out of a stall and straight out the door of the restroom? Some studies show only 65% of women wash their hands and only 35% of men. Even my first grader is taught (at school) to be a "cootie catcher" and wash her hands after using the bathroom, blowing her nose or sneezing. She is also taught (at home) to wash her hands before eating and after playing on the playground.

With the rampant spread of viruses, like the flu. We all need to be more cognisant of what they are teaching school children and listen to the lesson: Wash Your Hands! If you look a little further (ie. read the daily news) you may have heard that this flu season is reaching almost epidemic proportions. Unfortunately the flu vaccine that was widely advertised and given last fall didn't include the strain of flu that is most prevalent this season.

The flu has reached many work places and schools across the country. According to the Center for Disease Control website, "The proportion of deaths attributed to pneumonia and influenza was above the epidemic threshold for the sixth consecutive week." Shockingly, the CDC doesn't track the number of school closures due to illness, however you may read about closures in your local papers. The CDC does, however, track flu fatalities. This year is among the worst in recent history. I won't cite the statistics here, but you may read about it on their website.

Even the flu has even hit the reality TV circuit. It was reported that the flu devastated the American Idol contestants before last week's show. I couldn't believe how many news articles were devoted to their illness.

I am not a pessimist by nature, nor am I a germaphob, and don't care to spread panic. I also know that hand washing won't stop all the spread of germs and viruses. But, if we all do our part we may be able to stop the spread of germs, even just a little bit. So, don't forget to:

You may even want to print this one out and hang it in your bathroom: