On washing your hands

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

My new job brought new people, new clients, new experiences and new routines.

This isn't surprising.

But what is surprising that one of the simplest parts of mine and any human beings day, going to the bathroom, has suddenly made me very self conscious about a very mundane task - washing my hands.

You see, at D&E there is, not surprisingly, a nice big bathroom with multiple facilitates and 4 or 5 sinks with mirrors abound. Naturally though, there are going to be times where you aren't in the restroom alone...

When one finds themselves in the bathroom with a colleague you may exchange pleasantries, "Hi, how are you?" or "Did you reach out to X client" or "Is it time for happy hour yet?" or "Nice skirt" - all while glancing in the mirror and washing your hands. 

Prior to this monster employee bathroom though I never thought much of washing my hands, it's simple really - pump some soap, turn on the warm water, lather and rinse.

But now I'm suddenly self conscious because I think I don't wash my hands long enough.

I have some colleges that look like they're scrubbing into surgery at Cleveland Clinic post bathroom break, and it makes my hand washing look far inferior.

I've heard the whole recite your ABC's while washing your hands to know you've washed them long enough to kill all the germs but who really does that? OR DOES EVERYONE DO THAT BUT ME?!?!?

I could probably get through A, B, C, D, E before I rinse the soap from my hands - does that mean I'm a crappy hand washer?

I'm so confused, help me. My colleagues are making me get an inferior hand washing complex. So what's your process? A to Z? or A to E?


Sigh.

Now if you'll excuse me, I some hand soap to test out and practice my technique on...

19 comments:

  1. This made me laugh out loud! I've thought this exact same thing before:)!!! I work in the medical field so I see a good mixture of 5 second hand washers to 3 minute hand washers (no lie)... As long as your washing your hands I think you're good:)!!!

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  2. OMG This is funny on its own, but, see, I work at a college and just yesterday some of the Physical Therapy Assistant students were being graded on how long they wash their hands. No joke. Their instructor was in the bathroom with them with a STOPWATCH. I guess they were taught to wash for, I think, 60-90 seconds and they were supposed to wash for however long that felt like to them and she was timing them to see how close they were. Some later said they were counting the ABCS 2 or 3 times through.

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  3. It's funny you bring this up, because I've been thinking that one of my biggest transitions in going from working from home to a large office recently has been remembering proper bathroom etiquette. I am definitely like you -- soap, lather, rinse and done. I honestly am trying to time my using of the bathroom to where there will be no one at the sinks when I'm done because I still find the at-the-sink interactions awkward (it's been a long, long time since I've worked in an office of this size).

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  4. hey, at least you're washing them. There are plenty of women that just flush and walk out. SO GROSS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  5. Feel lucky that you work with people who are what might be considered over cleanly. In my office it's not uncommon to be in the stall and hear a fellow bathroom-goer turn on the water for 2 seconds, rinse the tips of their fingers and walk out. Ew. I say as long as you're using soap and water (which should take about 5 seconds or so, maybe more, but rarely less) then you're in good shape.

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  6. I second cle shopaholic - at least you're washing them! Some of the nasty old ladies in my office just walk right out! It's sick! So for that reason, I spend some extra time washing mine, since I have NO idea what I might be touching all day that they've touched - gross!

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  7. i always laugh when i see a sign "employees must wash hands."

    I hope so!

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  8. Actually, the board of health says you should wash your hands the same amount of time it takes you to sing the "Happy Birthday" song.

    I am that person who probably over washes her hands though. . .like after every ride in the elevator. . .or anytime I leave and go somewhere in my car and come back. . .

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  9. That's one thing I don't miss about working in an office. We had two (yes two!) ladies who would bring in these giant dental kits and go through the most outrageous routine of rinsing, flossing, brushing, picking - I think more than my dentist does!

    Every. Single. Day.

    The whole bathroom would smell like a dentist office and it was really annoying b/c there were only two sinks and they would be hogging up the whole area. I learned very quickly not to dare enter the bathroom during the dental 1/2 hour at 1pm. I always wondered if they washed their hands after all that craziness in their mouths...

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  10. no worries girl, i'm a quickie washer too. i better up my game at the new job next week!

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  11. Before Gavin, I didn't even know about the alphabet song. When we had Gavin in the NICU and we had to wash our hands every time we went in to see him (even if we just left the room to take a call), you better believe I sang (in my head) the ABCs all the way through the alphabet before rinsing my hands. I continued to do it all winter long, even after he came home. And you know what? That was the year I didn't get sick. Since then, when I wash my hands (which isn't quite as frequently as when Gavin was wee), I do it for a good long time.

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  12. I get this concern, but honestly, I think that most people spend more time checking themselves out while pretending to be washing their hands, than they do actually being focused on personal hygeine!

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  13. I follow the "Happy Birthday" rule when washing. That works for me!

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  14. Thank you, I will now be thinking about this tomorrow when I'm in the restroom. I will report back.

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  15. this made me laugh. and while out with the girls tonight and in the restroom washing my hands ... i instantly thought back to reading this post :)

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  16. OK, so I read this article on how workers at an eye bank spend at least ten minutes washing their hands with soap, to rid of all the bacteria.
    Zetaclear

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  17. Thanks! I will choose a best answer too, please provide some evidence or at least state your background info to backup your answer.
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  18. Reminds me of something that would happen in a Seinfeld episode! Hilarious!

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  19. Thanks! I will choose a best answer too, please provide some evidence or at least state your background info to backup your answer.revita derm

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