Hands are dirtier than public surfaces

New study says our hands are dirtier than public surfaces

Find out just how much bacteria is on our hands and how best to attempt to avoid it.

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With Global Handwashing Day approaching (October 15th) a shocking new study highlights the germs we unkonowingly carry on our hands.

The study reveals that the average person carries over 10 million bacteria on their hands, in comparison to 33,000 found on public surfaces.

As parents, we often fret about germs our babies and toddlers can pick up from surfaces they come in contact with, but this new research shows we could be spreading more germs to our kids from our own hands.

In the research, commissioned by water-based sanitiser brand, Aquaint, 25 swabs were taken from multiple high street and shopping centre locations in St Albans and Luton, collected from surfaces including tables, public benches, escalator handrails, high chairs and children's ride-on toys. In all cases, the surfaces were given a 'poor' visual rating, which indicates stains, debris and signs of wear. The samples were then laboratory tested for a range of harmful bacteria including staphylococcus, E.coli and enterobacteriaceae, which have all been linked to illnesses and deaths.

The overall quantity of bacteria measured in public spaces was actually relatively low – 33,000 in the worst example, from a wooden public bench. Whereas, the average person carries over 10 million bacteria on the hands alone.

Some of the findings from the study include:

* Only 13% would avoid eating unless they had washed or cleansed their hands.

* Faecal matter is present on 26% of hands in the UK.

* Hands are a 'public transport network' for harmful bacteria.

Alongside this study, Aquaint polled members of the public on habits and attitudes to germs. Unsurprisingly, 92% of those polled said they would avoid dirty looking tables and seats, citing health as the primary concern. By contrast, only 13% said they would avoid eating unless they had washed or cleansed their hands.

The study was completed in 2014.

What do you make of the results? Tell us what you think in our forum, via Facebook or Twitter.

 

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