Basic Restroom Etiquette Should be Mandatory

Jessica Bourse

There is something dirty taking place in our bathrooms – and no, I am not referring to the obvious. What started off as a simple observation has now turned into a repulsive fact: People are not washing their hands after using the restroom.

Disgusting, right?

We are all aware of how important it is to have good hygiene. Isn’t cleanliness next to godliness? When most of us were children, our parents and teachers became sanitation missionaries. For years, they preached the golden rules: “cover your mouth,” “don’t touch that,” “use a tissue, not your sleeve,” and “wash your hands.”

We are no, for the most part, adults. We go to our classes, complete assignments and go to work. In short, we have many responsibilities. Shouldn’t our health be one of them?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, every year more than 160,000 people in the United States die from infectious diseases caused by viruses, bacteria and parasites that are easily transmitted from one person to another.

Proper hand washing helps prevent illnesses such as amebiasis, cryptosporidiosis, giardiasis, hepatitis A, and influenza. Peopel who don’t wash their hands don’t realize that microscopic bacteria and fecal matter cover them.

This means that even if you wash your hands, you still pick up germs from grabbing the door handle on your way out. Students such as Jessica Marquez, 20, criminal justice major, makes sure to avoid unwanted germs.

“It’s just so disgusting when people don’t wash their hands,” said Marquez. “I’m scared to touch the handle of the door. I always use a paper towel.”

According to studies by the American Society of Microbiology, 97 percent of females say they wash their hands after using the restroom, and of these only 75 percent actually do. On the other hand, 92 percent of males say they wash their hands after using the restroom, but in reality, 58 percent of those who said yes in fact do.

“There have been a lot of occasions when I have witnessed people just leave without washing their hands,” said Aylin Akoopi, 20, film major. “I mean, how hard is it?”

Hand washing, and I mean good hand washing, only takes about 20 seconds. Make sure to use soap, scrub your hands and clean under your nails.

How do you know when your hands are clean? Try singing the “Happy Birthday” song twice.

There is no excuse not to stop by the sing after leaving the stall or urinal. When you don’t wash others suffer. Maybe personal hygiene should be a required course.