Much like tying your shoe laces, riding a bike and learning how to spell you name, washing your hands after relieving yourself is something that’s taught to everyone from pretty early on.
But turns out the message isn’t sinking in (sorry, not sorry) with one in five Aussies admitting to skipping the clean-up after punishing the porcelain.
WATCH: Dr Ginni Mansberg explains our bad habit
New research from the Food Safety Information Council revealed the damning statistic. The worst bit? Men are the biggest culprits. Meanwhile two in five aren’t washing their hands before handling food.
“The faecal-oral route is the number one cause of spreading diseases,” Dr Ginni Mansberg told Weekend Sunrise.
“Apparently 76 per cent of blokes do wash their hands after the bathroom…86 per cent of women wash their hands,”
Age also plays a part. Older generations are far more likely to wash their hands after using the toilet than their younger counterparts.
“Good handwashing, using running water, soap and drying hands thoroughly is a basic public health message that people seem to be forgetting,” explains Food Safety Information Council’s Lydia Buchtmann.
“This behaviour could be contributing to the estimated 4.1 million cases of food poisoning each year, not to mention spreading viral infections such as cold, influenza and norovirus.”
So when should you wash your hands before handling food? Always, of course, but these are the more necessary occasions, according to the organisation:
- before handling, preparing and eating food
- after touching raw meat, fish, shell eggs or poultry
- after using the toilet and changing nappies
- after blowing your nose
- after touching a pet
- after gardening
And if you’re not sure the best technique to rid your hands of any germs, they have a guide for that too:
- Wet hands and rub thoroughly and lather with soap for at least 20 seconds, washing between fingers and under nails.
- Rinse well under running water to remove germs.
- Use a clean towel and dry hands thoroughly for at least 20 seconds. If your hands are still moist, they’ll attract germs and encourage them to spread from surfaces.
- If no running water is available, use an alcohol gel.