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Will washing my hands/using hand sanitiser help with my immune system?

(23 Posts)
floraldresser Sat 09-Apr-16 19:30:40

I know I'm stupid, but I rarely wash my hands. I only wash them when they are visibly dirty. I don't wash my hands after I've been anywhere, to the toilet or touched something in a very public place. I'm gross.

I have been ill with a bad cough/cold/flu since August last year. Non stop, feeling like shit. I was thinking, is there proof or evidence to suggest that if I were to consistently wash my hands and use anti bacterial hand wash/cleanser, then I would be less sick, as less covered in a load of germs.

Miloarmadillo1 Sat 09-Apr-16 19:42:38

There's quite a lot of evidence that exposure to a bit of dirt is good for the immune system. The 'hygiene hypothesis' says that over- use of disinfectants, less exposure to dirt etc is responsible for the rise in allergies and immune mediated diseases, because the immune system is not dealing with a low level of infection and goes a bit haywire, reacting to non-noxious environmental allergens.
On the other hand, not washing your hands after going to the toilet, after being out in grubby public places, before eating etc is just grim. That's extremely basic hygiene to reduce your risk of colds, flu, gastroenteritis etc.
If you have really been ill for 8 months have you been to GP and had tests? That's not normal for anyone with a functioning immune system, whatever your level of exposure to bacteria and viruses. Most adults will have immunity to the things that are common in their environment.

Sidge Sat 09-Apr-16 19:50:22

Washing your hands properly in hot soapy water and drying them thoroughly is one of the most effective ways of reducing the spread of infection such as viruses and bacteria.

Antibacterial gel - less so. And after 5 applications is ineffective and needs to be washed off and reapplied. It can be useful in situations where there is no access to soap and water but no substitute for proper hand washing.

I don't know if that's the only reason you have been poorly for so long (I doubt it) but it would certainly help if you washed your hands after going to the toilet, before and after handling food, after putting bins out etc. If nothing else it will reduce the likelihood of you catching and transmitting a gastrointestinal infection.

gamerchick Sat 09-Apr-16 19:56:23

So you don't wash your hands after taking a dump? That's really not cool man.

Hot soapy wash after coming in from being out, wash after using the toilet and before preparing and eating food. It's basic stuff.

FeelingSmurfy Sat 09-Apr-16 19:57:10

We normally have a 'kills 99.9999999999% of germs type hand-wash, got a Christmassy one a few years ago and I was really fluey all month (he bought 2 for each bathroom incase we ran out!) thought could it be that, swapped back to normal one and I picked up a few days later and was fine then. Could (and probably is) be total coincidence, but I'm pretty much housebound so I wasn't in contact with germs people and that was the only difference

LIZS Sat 09-Apr-16 20:07:20

It's not about your immune system , more to do with reducing exposure to and transference of bacteria and viruses. Someone sneezes, uses a door handle or phone, you follow, lo and behold you are in contact with whatever they have.

poocatcherchampion Sat 09-Apr-16 20:12:21

Do we wash hands after coming into the house now?

Coldtoeswarmheart Sat 09-Apr-16 20:14:14

Soap and water is more effective than antibac gels, particularly for bugs which will give you d&v.

At the moment, whatever is on your hands will be making its way into your mouth ("faecal oral route"), making it much more likely you'll pick up minor viral ilnesses.

And you'll be sharing those bugs around via things like light switches and door handles, so out of consideration for others handwashing is the right way to go.

gamerchick Sat 09-Apr-16 20:19:44

Do we wash hands after coming into the house now?

I go to the shops and touch stuff and money (which is germ ridden) I use cash points where the 100 people before me could be like what was written in the OP. I use buses and yanno 'touch' things so before those virus/cold germs I could pick up make their way into my eyes or in my mouth I wash them when I come into the house.

NicknameUsed Sat 09-Apr-16 20:25:49

You don't wash hands after going to the toilet shock

That is really, really gross and utterly disgusting. Weren't you ever told as a child to wash your hands after using the toilet?

I subscribe to the school of thought that you should be exposed to a bit of dirt to develop your immune system, but not washing your hands after using the loo is beyond the pale. There is no way I would accept a cup of tea or eat at your house.

FGS you need to learn a bit of basic hygiene.

legoqueen Sat 09-Apr-16 20:51:04

Why don't you wash your hands, OP?

Penfold007 Sat 09-Apr-16 21:08:28

Yes you are gross and unhygienic. Start washing your hands regularly especially after using the toilet

Wolfiefan Sat 09-Apr-16 21:11:26

You need to wash your hands after using the toilet. Before preparing or eating food.
Do you have pets? Wash hands after touching or feeding them.

LittleBearPad Sat 09-Apr-16 21:12:18

Wash your hands after using the loo! It's horrible not to. It takes a moment to do.

Having fewer germs in your hands will mean you are less exposed to bugs etc.

NicknameUsed Sat 09-Apr-16 21:16:11

I don't understand why some people don't wash their hands after using the loo. When I was at primary school we had a dysentry epidemic and we had hand washing monitors in the toilets to make sure that everyone washed their hands.

exWifebeginsat40 Sat 09-Apr-16 21:19:16

run your hands under the flush if you're short of time, OP.

but seriously - wash your hands. ugh.

You've been constantly ill for EIGHT MONTHS and you wonder if it might be a good idea to wash your hands?! hmm

Wolpertinger Sun 10-Apr-16 09:48:04

Yes, washing your hands would make you less ill.

It's not to do with your immune system, which is perfectly healthy, but with how much work you are giving it to do. Your immune system is perfectly capable of fighting off bugs which is what it is doing - but you as a result are feeling crap all the time.

The main way by far that bugs are spread is on your hands. Even coughs and colds are mainly spread on your hands. So if you did a lot more handwashing, especially in cold and flu season, you could reasonably expect not just not to catch d and v but to have less colds and flu.

NicknameUsed Sun 10-Apr-16 09:52:13

Where has the OP gone?

NoCapes Sun 10-Apr-16 09:53:20

Question - why is it so important to wash your hands after going to the loo? All you actually touch is your clothes and toilet roll, why are they so germ ridden?

<disclaimer> I always wash my hands after the toilet but more out of habit than anything else tbh

NicknameUsed Sun 10-Apr-16 10:01:09

"All you actually touch is your clothes and toilet roll, why are they so germ ridden?""

Toilet roll is very absorbent and porous so germs will go through it onto your hands. And surely anyone on their period would need to wash their hands anyway?

GreenMarkerPen Sun 10-Apr-16 10:09:27

when the swineflu was bad in 2009, my nursery introduced systematic handwashing with soap for at least as long as it takes you to sing 'happy birthday'
- after arriving
- before & after meals
- after coming in from outside
- after toilet/nappy changes

the results were astonishing so much less d&v and and colds.

Adriatic Sun 10-Apr-16 22:32:06

Not washing hands after using the toilet is gross. No wonder you're ill a lot.
Poo crumbs are everywhere

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