Wash your hands
THERE was a time when eating in the street was considered bad manners. That’s now an old-fashioned view, but with the rise in fast food takeaways, sandwich shops and other outlets offering instant gratification, perhaps it should be considered bad microbiology as well. After all, how are you supposed to wash your hands before attacking that sandwich on the hoof ?
Humble hand-washing before eating may now be regarded as rather old-fashioned, too. Yet worrying recent research suggests it’s more important than ever.
A study from London Metropolitan University found that the seats and handles on all the main London Underground lines are home to bacteria, including many that are resistant to antibiotics.
And because superbugs can easily transfer their antibiotic resistance to other bacteria, the concern is that this could drive the spread of resistance. This follows another study from some years ago, which found that seats of Tube trains harbour faecal bacteria.
This new research is really confirming what we already know –: public transport puts us in contact with some nasty bugs.
Ordinary soap, used correctly, tackles bacteria far better than hastily applied alcohol gels, however convenient they may be.
So be warned. And be old-fashioned on this one.