As if protecting ourselves from the deadly coronavirus weren’t reason enough, here is yet another important reason to wash our hands thoroughly and often.
Harmful flame retardants may be lurking on your hands and cell phone, according to a peer-reviewed study published today in Environmental Science & Technology Letters.
The researchers found that halogenated flame retardants added to plastic TV cases can move from the TV to indoor air and dust, to hands, and then to cell phones and other hand-held electronic devices. Once on your cell phone, that surface provides an ongoing source of exposure to these chemicals each time you touch your cell phone.
“It’s well-known that viruses are transferred between surfaces and hands,” said co-author Miriam Diamond, a Professor in the Department of Earth Sciences at the University of Toronto. “Our study shows that toxic chemicals like flame retardants do the same. That’s another reason we should all wash our hands often and well.”
I hope this doesn’t seem too corny, but with all the flu and other illnesses circulating, the simple act of washing your hands thoroughly and regularly can protect you in more ways than you can imagine.
I can only add anecdotally that my girlfriend washes her hands all the time and never gets colds. I haven’t been and I do.
Internal Medicine specialists like Dr. Kevin Cleary of Lancaster Medical in Depew, New York, take flu prevention seriously. Many of Dr. Kevin Cleary’s patients receive the flu shot, and he provides prescriptions for antiviral medications for high-risk people who receive a flu diagnosis in the early stages of the disease. However, Dr. Cleary and his fellow practitioners know that a simple habit actually provides even more protection than the vaccination.
Researchers have long found that hand washing is one of the most successful ways to prevent colds, flus, and gastrointestinal illnesses. Public restrooms are especially dangerous for people seeking to avoid disease. After using a public restroom, people should wash their hands for 20 seconds with soap and water, paying careful attention to the areas around their fingernails. They should also wash their hands thoroughly before eating. However, 15% of Americans don’t wash their hands after using the restroom, and…