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Thursday, April 30, 2009

Hand Washing 101

Today we completed a lab in my microbiology class on Hand Washing. On Tuesday I worked with my lab bench (3 other girls) and we each did a different hand washing technique...
  • Just Water
  • Soap & Water WITHOUT drying *I did this one*
  • Soap & Water WITH drying
  • Surgical Scrub

We 'stamped' our fingers at the 0, 1, 2, and 3 minute mark of hand washing then put it in the incubator to cook until today. I assumed that my hand washing (soap and water without drying) would have an obvious 0 minutes there would be a lot of bacteria and then progressively less each time. However I was SOOOO wrong. My results were opposite of that, I had the least amount of bacteria at 0 minutes and the most bacteria at 3. I initially assumed I had done something wrong, and asked my professor if that was the case...she said no I had done it correctly and we'd soon discuss it.

Turns out that when you wash your hands with soap, the soap acts as a detergent and 'pulls' the bacteria from your hands and into the suds. You then rinse it with the water, and a lot of bacteria comes off but not all. Normally if you use a paper towel to dry your hands that will remove the remaining bacteria, however when you DON'T dry your hands the bacteria just sits on your hands...EWWWW!! If you think about it, if you use a hand dryer you are just HEATING and ADHERING the bacteria back on to your hands!!

I am learning a lot in my micro lab this year and really enjoying it. I was a germaphobe before and this class is just making it even worse LOL!

1 comment:

Amy said...

wow. really glad that i always dry my hands with a paper towel. :)


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