Wash your hands

The Star Early Edition - - NEWS -

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.

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