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Germs Don't Need Help in Spreading

February 16, 1998

As thorough as the article was ("The Wash Cycle," Jan. 26), how about the aspect of transporting germs into your system?

If you are in the habit of wetting your fingers to turn pages--or to rub your eyes, nose, etc.--you are helping germs to expand their territory. No matter how diligent you are in washing your hands, the germs will always be there. Just don't give them a chance to shoot you down.




I would like to add something that is worse, and no one has mentioned it.

The busboys who (supposedly) clean the tables with the same dirty rag and then go and pick up the silverware and the napkins. And how about putting their fingers in soiled glasses and not cleaning their hands before handling the silverware.

Waitresses also do the same and then go digging in the salad bowl to serve the salad. I've seen them not using the tools, but their fingers to pick up the veggies from the big bowl.




Studies have shown that the easiest place to acquire germs in a public restroom is the door handle. Think about it. Every one who uses the restroom, including the vast majority who do not wash their hands, touches the handle to open the door. Not only should one turn off the water faucet with a paper towel, but a paper towel should also be used to open the door on the way out. It wouldn't be a bad idea to push the paper towel lever before washing one's hands, too, so as to have the paper at the ready, as there certainly are germs on it.

The state of Oregon's health department already recognizes this danger. Not only does it require food workers to wash their hands after using the toilet, they must do so again when they return to the kitchen. Let's see California require the same.

In the meantime, if you see wadded up paper towels outside a public restroom, know that they probably came from people who really take control of their health in their own hands.


Santa Monica

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