Students should keep their hands clean at all times to remove germs picked up from contaminated surfaces to avoid getting sick during cold and flu season, Cheryl Strange, a registered nurse at the Brown-Lupton Health Center, said.
Strange said students most likely cannot stay away from germs completely, but can fight them.
“You probably can’t avoid them, so good hand washing on your part would be the best defense against all or most of the bacteria,” Strange said.
A scientific study released by Kimberly-Clark Professional found 71 percent of gas pump handles, 41 percent of ATM buttons and 35 percent of crosswalk and vending machines buttons contain high amounts of the germs associated with a risk of illness, according to a USA Today article.
Michael Franz, a sophomore strategic communication major, said the statistics are high and said he should probably sanitize his hands wherever he goes.
“It’s pretty crazy,” he said. “I should probably wash my hands after I pump gas.”
Ashley Eakes, a sophomore nursing major, said those statistics are “disgusting” but believable. The best way to avoid getting sick is to wash your hands as frequently as possible, she said.
“As a nursing major, we are taught to constantly wash our hands. In and out of every room, we are washing our hands,” Eakes said. “That’s the biggest thing, because you are washing off all the germs most likely, most of the time.”
All nursing majors were required to get the flu vaccine, and Eakes said everyone else should do the same.
Jamy Warrington, a senior nursing major, said surfaces containing high amounts of germs are everywhere and are more common than people think.
“If you go to test all the things that you really touch, it would be just the same as the crosswalk button,” she said.
Warrington has noticed people licking their fingers before turning the page of a book and said that is not a good idea.
“That is a horrible habit,” Warrington said. “You might as well just lick the book.”
Strange said washing your hands in a public restroom then opening the door with your bare hand is a common mistake, and people should be aware of re-contamination.
“You kind of crossed out what you just did,” she said.
Eakes said hand sanitizer is a good substitute for those who cannot wash their hands, but people cannot do much else to avoid getting sick.
“There’s not really much else you can do,” she said. “I don’t really know why some people get it, and some people don’t. Some are more immune, and you can’t really help your immune system.”