With all the talk today about eating healthy, exercise, vitamins, meditation and other behaviors to improve one’s wellbeing, one behavior should NEVER be overlooked by a pest control operator (PCO) or a wildlife control operator (WCO). What is that behavior? Washing your hands. Washing your hands is a simple way to avoid disease and pesticides that you are exposed to as a normal part of your job. Is hand washing perfect? No, it’s not a bubble suit, but it will go a long way to reduce your risk.
Hand washing has several key advantages. First, it is low cost. Soap, water, and a towel, preferably disposable and you are good to go. Second, hand washing is effective. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), handwashing helps prevent the spread of several diseases. The CDC claims that hand washing reduces the number of people who get sick from diarrhea up to 40%. Another fact, important for service providers is that hand washing reduces infections, such as colds, in the general population up to 21%. Third, hand washing is a simple way to avoid diseases and pesticides. Plus, it’s easy to do.
Unfortunately, many people do not wash their hands correctly. So here are the steps.
- Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap, and apply soap.
- Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Be sure to lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
- Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice.
- Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.
- Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.
I would add that WCOs and PCOs should wash their hands BEFORE you use the restroom and AFTER too. Keep in mind that we have dirty jobs and are exposed to a lot of germs and chemicals. Add to that the customers who are sneezing, coughing in our presence (and sometimes our faces) and you should be able to easily see the importance of washing your hands.
What about antibacterial soaps and cleaners? Haven’t been proven to be all that effective. Now they are better than nothing if you don’t have access to soap and water. But soap and water are the best because they work on the principle of friction and soap. Friction and soap remove the germs and the running water washes them away. So wash well.Stephen M. Vantassel, CWCP, ACE, is the owner of Wildlife Control Consultant, LLC. He helps people restore their balance with nature through publishing, training, consulting, and the internet. He has published numerous articles in trade and academic publications along with several books (http://kingsdivinity.academia.edu/StephenMVantassel). He is a sought after speaker and trainer. Copyright All postings are the property of Stephen M. Vantassel and Wildlife Control Consultant, LLC. Text (not images) may be reprinted in non-profit publications provided that the author and website URL is included. If images wish to be used, explicit and written permission must be obtained from Wildlife Control Consultant, LLC.