While Amy, Sorenne and I observed some sort of cross between The Hills and Real Housewives of Somewhere at a poolside party in Scottsdale, Arizona, some 2,300 Kansas State students were graduating this afternoon.
Hand sanitizers were apparently on the agenda as those who convocated were offered hand sanitizer before receiving their degree. The optional offering was apparently designed to ease flu fears. Seems reasonable enough, but do such offerings actually amplify rather than assuage concerns about swine flu, er, H1N1, or any other communicable disease?
If any of the thousands of family and friends who visited Kansas State today had wandered into the student union to use the washroom, they would have seen the sign pictured below. Megan discovered this about a week ago, and three of us read the sign and thought the disinfectant referred to some special kind of handwashing soap. Maybe we’re just handwashing geeks.
So Megan went on an investigative trek that finally led to AFFLAB Antimicrobial Lotion Soap. The company website does not list factual information about their soaps and the germ killing power it may have. In general, antimicrobial and antibacterial soaps do aid in the “eradication of germs” and washing hands properly helps as well. However, if no such soaps are available, non-antimicrobial or non-antibiotic soaps will also clean your hands. During handwashing, the act of rubbing hands vigorously together with soap, creating lather, then rinsing them, is what removes germs (or, for the science nerds, transient flora).
Then Amy looked over my shoulder and said, “the disinfectant is the stuff used to wash the bathroom floors.”
I do not know the purpose of the signs, and what message the signs were intended to convey, but they failed. And as Megan said, “ugly, unattractive signs aren’t going to increase hand hygiene.”