Despite what we think, the best way to keep your hands clean is by washing it with soap and not substituting that with hand sanitizer.
With the climate getting colder, the CDC states that 30 states—especially southern states like Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia, and South Carolina—are already witnessing flu activity. Several reports also suggest that there have been nearly 1.7 million to 2.5 million flu illnesses nationwide between October and November. However, there are various measures one can take that will help keep the flu at bay. But, it's time to give those techniques you use another look because a teacher from Idaho recently went viral as she spreads awareness through a post on social media platform Facebook.
Jaralee Annice Metcalf shared photos of a science project she did with her class, writing alongside a series of photos: "We did a science project in class this last month as flu season was starting. We took fresh bread and touched it. We did one slice untouched. One with unwashed hands. One with hand sanitizer. One with washed hands with warm water and soap. Then we decided to rub a piece on all our classroom Chromebooks."
The result is not something you'd expect and is honestly quite disgusting. She wrote: "As somebody who is sick and tired of being sick and tired of being sick and tired. Wash your hands! Remind your kids to wash their hands! And hand sanitizer is not an alternative to washing hands!! At all!" Most of us prefer to clean our hands with a bit of sanitizer, because it claims to kill 99.99% germs, but is it actually true?
For the experiments, here's what the teachers and students did: "All the students touched each piece (of the touched pieces). Results took 3-4 weeks because of preservatives. It was plain white bread. Editing again to clarify: The control piece wasn't fresh when we took this picture. It just wasn't ever touched with naked hands and it was moved immediately from the bread bag to the zip lock baggie (every piece of bread here is from the same loaf and same day."
The results are so surprising because these are freezer ziplock bags meant for raw meat and they're sealed tight. She also added that they do sanitize their Chromebooks, but it wasn't done for the experiment. This was an elementary school experiment, notes the teacher and adds that she is in no way trying to make the laptops look bad. She's merely posting facts about how germs accumulate on laptops because we work on them with our hands.
"If the bread had been exposed to air and moisture, the experiment may have gone faster," Metcalf tells Parents.com. "The breads that were very clearly exposed to different germs grew mold quicker. And ones touches by clean hands plus the soap and water ones were not exposed to the germs that cause the mold growth to quicken." Since Metcalf shared the images, her post has earned over 60K shares and over 8K comments.
Ultimately, the science teacher hopes that parents not only better understand the importance of hand-washing but that they take the results into consideration when their child comes down with a bug. "Germs spread rapidly," Metcalf tells Parents.com. "And it doesn't matter how often they're told or how well they're taught to wash their hands, children won't always do it properly or enough." That said, when hand-washing fails, a sick day might be called for, which could preempt illnesses like the flu from spreading even further.