Hand washing has a surprise and welcome side-effect
THE casualty ward at Grafton Base Hospital has noted a surprising side-effect doctors put down to measures to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.
Since the campaign to encourage hand washing there has been a marked drop in people presenting with gastric problems.
A source at the hospital said the effect had been so marked and sudden, it had created comment among doctors treating patients in the emergency department.
“It’s simply people paying more attention to personal hygiene – washing their hands,” the source said.
“It might be surprising, but there are many people who fail to wash their hands after going to the toilet.
“The constant reminder for people to wash their hands seems to have changed that behaviour.”
He said it would be instructive for people to conduct a small experiment to test the level of hygiene in the community.
“It won’t take long, just stand for a little while in toilet and count how many people don’t wash their hands,” he said. “You will be surprised.”
He said doctors were not immune to the problem.
“At a doctors conference watched the behaviour of people attending the conference, who were all doctors,” he said.
“It was amazing to see that many of them failed to wash their hands.”
He said the results became a presentation at the conference.
“We didn’t name them, but we did shame them,” he said.
“If nothing else comes from this pandemic than a great awareness of better personal hygiene, it will be a good thing.”
The doctor could not say if the drop in gastro cases would lead to a reduction in toilet paper hoarding.