"Employees must wash hands." That's what the sign says. Right there, over the sink in the bathroom.
So… if I'm not an employee, what are the odds I am going to wash my hands? It might depend on whether I'm a man or a woman. In an observational study, the odds a woman was observed washing her hands after using a public bathroom are 1 in 1.14 (88%). The odds a man was observed not washing his hands are 1 in 2.99.
It also could depend on whether I carry Mom's voice in my head telling me I should. Common flu viruses can live 24-48 hours on nonporous surfaces like plastic light switches and metal doorknobs. Dr. Val Curtis of the Hygiene Center of the University of London found traces of feces on the hands of more than one in four British test subjects in 2008.
And location matters. Only 57% of men in a stadium bathroom in Atlanta were observed washing their hands. An even lower 53% washed up at two State Fairs and a car show in Minnesota. Women did better than men in Atlanta,Read More »from Handwashing hazards