An article featured in msn yesterday makes the statement “almost all the things you do to prevent infection are useless” which is very confusing. You can find it at: http://www.msn.com/en-us/health/wellness/almost-all-the-things-you-do-to-avoid-germs-are-completely-useless/ar-AA9VM3r#page=4
How do we get people to understand risk when it comes to hygiene. We know it’s no good saying – I haven't had a car accident for 10 years so I'll stop wearing a seat belt – because we know it may be our turn tomorrow. The risk is there all the time, we can only reduce it. Hygiene is the same, but the public seem reluctant to grasp it. We can reduce infection risks but never eliminate them. How do we get over the concept of targeted hygiene as the most effective way i.e applying hygiene practices in the riskiest places at the right time. e.g cleaning food and hand contact surfaces (including cloths) and washing hands after preparing a raw chicken – or washing our hands after the toilet and keeping touch surfaces like the toilet seat and handle clean and disinfected – and if you’re in a public loo, HW and not touching the exit door is the only way. It’s common sense. Using a hand sanitizer where there's good reason e.g after arriving at the office makes good sense, but slathering them for no reason – or disinfecting surfaces as part of the routine weekly clean is not.
And yes – we do need exposure to microbes particularly in early life to reduce the risks of allergies, but research now shows that the microbes we need are the largely non harmful ones in our bodies and environment. So targeted hygiene makes sense. It minimizes the risk of infection but allows us max exposure to these non harmful microbes.