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If you don’t believe in handwashing, go lick a doorknob!

Believe it or not, there are people who avoid washing their hands because they think that dirty hands will result in a healthier you. These people feel that in our obsession with avoiding germs, our bodies will not build up antibodies to fight various diseases. With that kind of attitude, maybe people who are opposed to handwashing should consider licking doorknobs!

First of all, we will never avoid all the germs and microbes that exist. You’d have to submerge a human being in a tub of Clorox to eliminate 99 percent of all those microscopic hitchhikers. (He’d be willing to bet there would still be more than a few survivors.) Our bodies are covered in both good and bad microbes. A healthy person is not likely to get sick from these germs.

Our bodies develop immunity to certain microbes in the course of our daily lives. That doesn’t mean we should get every germ with dirty hands. If you come in contact with a flu virus through your dirty hands, you can build immunity against that particular flu virus. Unfortunately, there are countless numbers of flu viruses. A flu virus can mutate before it reaches the end of the block where you live and now you have a completely different flu virus!

People who believe that dirty hands will make them healthier in the long run should consider that mutant flu germ. A person could be sick every day of the year with a different strain of the flu germ, and the antibodies created along the way would not prevent them from getting sick. So far we’ve only mentioned one type of germ found on dirty hands, now let’s take a look at a doorknob.

If you were to actually lick a doorknob, which I don’t recommend, you would come into contact with all sorts of germs. There are estimates that millions of germs reside on doorknobs! For non-believers in handwashing, a doorknob is a bonanza of germs. It just licks the doorknob and starts building antibodies. (Don’t worry about getting deathly ill in the process.)

So what are some of the microbes found on a doorknob? Here are a few for non-believers to consider washing their hands:

Streptococcus: There are many strains of Streptococcus and some strains can cause meningitis, pneumonia and carnivorous strains as well. (Do you still want to lick the doorknob?)

Staphylococcus – This germ is not that deadly and is commonly found on our own skin. However, there are some strains that cause serious skin infections as well as food poisoning. (Are your hands starting to itch?)

E-coli- The E-coli germ has a dual personality. Many forms of this germ are harmless and reside in the human digestive system and aid in the digestive process. Other forms can be deadly causing diarrhoea, meningitis, urinary tract infections, mastitis and pneumonia.

Salmonella: This particular bacteria is interesting because it can be transferred between humans and animals. Salmonella is the leading cause of food poisoning and severe cases of diarrhea.

I just identified four of the millions of germs that can be found on a typical doorknob. You can bet there are plenty more sitting around waiting to infect you. If you are someone who believes that dirty hands can lead to good health, I wish you the best. I just don’t want to shake your hand or share a bag of popcorn with you. And really, don’t even think about licking a doorknob!

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