A girl and a boy washing their hands in the bathroom sink.

Many Australians don’t wash their hands as much as they should.

Image: ©

If you’re a bit of a germophobe, we have bad news for you. There are a lot of Australians who aren’t washing their hands nearly enough. That’s the conclusion of new research from the Food Safety Information Council.

The council commissioned an online survey, to find out how many Australians wash their hands in situations where they really should. And yes, the figures are a bit icky.

You should always clean your hands after going to the toilet. But 21% of the people surveyed said that they don’t always wash. And since it was a survey, there’s a good chance that some people were lying.

A follow-up study looked at men and women in public toilets in a Canberra shopping mall. About 8% of women and a whopping 29% of men did not wash their hands after going to the toilet!

So why is this a big deal? It’s not just gross, many diseases including cholera, hepatitis A, polio, rotavirus and worms, can be spread by not washing your hands after going to the toilet. Diseases travelling this way take what is known as the ‘fecal-oral route’. Fecal means poo and oral means mouth, so you can probably decode the meaning yourself!

If you’re one of the 21% who doesn’t always wash their hands, hopefully we’ve encouraged you to be a bit cleaner. If you need more convincing, remember it’s not just your life that you’re risking.

You can feel perfectly healthy and still carry dangerous diseases. And you’re endangering the lives of the most vulnerable – babies, the elderly, and people who are already sick. So please, after you go to the toilet, wash your hands!

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