So I thought I'd share one piece of useful trivia that I picked up from the Canadian news channel: apparently if you wash your hands at least 5 times a day (presumably in addition to toilet stops), you halve your chances of picking up the common cold. The Canadians are worried about an epidemic of a non-typical strain of the common cold, which the news channel dubbed "the uncommon cold". Unfortunately, I never did learn what the symptoms were; I'd obviously walked in at the wrong end of the news item and missed it being repeated.
As an ex-nurse, I thought I'd pass on the correct way to wash your hands. If you've ever wondered, here is a good "how to". The only things I'd add are:-
- Start at your finger-tips and work your way down your hands and onto your wrists/forearms.
- In most respects, it is the friction that kills the bugs (unless you're using a disinfectant soap such as Betadine). It isn't necessary to use a disinfectant soap in normal life, just make sure that you spend enough time washing your hands to do the job. In fact, it is possible to get surgically clean hands after 5 minutes of correct washing, using a basic soap and running water.
- If you use a cake of soap, ensure it is dry. The BBC did a documentary a few years ago, The Secret Life of the Family, where they demonstrated that your hands would have more bugs on them after washing with soft, damp soap, than before doing so! Apparently, soft, damp, mushy soap is a perfect growth medium.
- Scrub your nails if you get the chance with a clean, dry nail brush, then wash each finger, move rings up and down to clean beneath them. Move onto the palms, rubbing your knuckles into your palms, followed by the back of your hand.