The leading cause of hospital infections is: staff not washing their hands. The leading cause of most common communicable diseases in the United States is: people not washing their hands.
We use our hands for everything, be that taking out the trash or pushing elevator buttons or pumping gasoline into our cars or typing into blogs using borrowed computers and keyboards. Our hands touch everything, including things that won’t be mentioned here, yet many people seem almost pathologically opposed to killing pathogens through proper washing.
Lawsuits over infections have caused many hospital systems to issue detailed guidance on how to wash hands. The guidance comes in the form of lectures, handouts, checklists, and illustrated reminders in restrooms. You can’t escape the guidance; it seems to be posted everywhere. Yet the infection rates in many hospitals stubbornly refuse to fall, usually because the staff stubbornly refuses to comply with the hand washing guidance.
There may be signs of hope, however. This sign was not found in a hospital, or a doctor’s clinic, or at a dental office, or any of the usual locals. No, this was in a gas station restroom in Staunton, Virginia: