2020-05-19 – TGIF: Thank God I have Fingers. (It’s not what you are thinking. Today is Tuesday.)
Why do I say that? It’s because of COVID-19. If we were like dogs (who don’t have fingers), we’d be spreading the disease by sniffing other people’s butts. But we have fingers, so we spread the disease by touch. And here’s the best part: there’s something we can do to stop spreading the disease by touch! We can wash our hands.
This shouldn’t be a surprise. And it might not be a surprise to you intellectually. In hospitals, the leading cause of iatrogenic disease (i.e., disease caused by the health care workers themselves) comes from failure to wash hands. I’m not saying that health care workers are negligent. They wash their hands over and over every day. But a single slip-up carries the risk of spreading disease from one patient to another.
This actually happens out of hospitals—to an even greater degree. But we don’t notice it because the diseases we spread tend to be things like colds. We also spread the flu, but no one has called this to our attention.
But even if this isn’t a surprise intellectually, incorporating it into our daily routine is another thing. In recent years, hospitals have introduced procedures to reduced the hand-washing slip-ups with significant benefit to patients.
Maybe if you see how germs spread, it will help. Take a look at this video that was made in Japan to show how germs can spread using a fluorescent dye and a black light. Watch to the end. The first part shows the spread. The second part shows what washing your hands can do to stop the spread.
Various ancient peoples discovered the value of hand washing millennia before the discovery of the germ theory. Jews (my own people) made hand washing mandatory before eating. We even have a “song” to sing while doing it. (The song is a prayer.) Whatever works. And rituals work.
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