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你洗手的方式是錯的嗎?

Are you washing and drying your hands wrong?
你洗手的方式是錯的嗎?

Now wash your hands! It sounds straightforward, but it isn’t. Although there’s plenty of evidence that washing your hands after you’ve been to the loo, before eating, or after travelling on public transport can reduce the spread of disease, only 5% of people wash their hands properly all the time.

洗手這件事看似簡單,其實不然。有很多證據證實,在如廁、吃飯或乘坐公交地鐵后洗手能夠降低感染疾病的幾率。但是,能夠每天以正確方式洗手的人只有5%。

An observational study of more than 3,000 people found 10% left public toilets without washing them at all and even if they did, 33% didn’t use soap. This matters because, unfortunately, we can’t resist touching our faces, allowing germs to spread nicely from our hands to our noses and mouths, where they can get into the body. Researchers in Brazil and the US found that we touch surfaces in public spaces an average of 3.3 times an hour and we touch our mouths or noses about 3.6 times an hour.

一項針對3,000多人的調查發現,有10%的人使用公共廁所后沒有洗手,而在那些洗了手的人中,則有多達33%的人沒用肥皂。我們每天都會用手接觸自己的臉,從而讓病菌從手上轉移到鼻子和嘴上并最終進入人體。巴西和美國的研究人員發現,在公共空間,我們平均每小時會接觸各類物體3.3次,而每小時我們會接觸自己的嘴或鼻子3.6次。
 

So it’s clear that we need to wash our hands properly. The problem is there are plenty of myths out there about how to do it.

很顯然,我們應當以正確方式洗手。問題在于,坊間流傳的很多洗手小貼士都是錯的。

Does the water need to be hot to get your hands clean?

熱水洗手才干凈嗎?


In a survey of 500 adults in the US, 69% believed that the temperature of the water has an impact on the effectiveness of handwashing. It is true that heat can kill bacteria (which is why we need to make sure certain foods are piping hot when we eat them), but the water would need to be scalding for this to happen on your skin. Salmonella, for example, can survive temperatures of 55C for more than 10 minutes. If you washed your hands in water this hot you would have serious burns before 30 seconds were up.

一項針對500名美國成年人士的調查發現,有69%的人認為水溫會對洗手效果產生影響。熱量能夠殺滅細菌,這是對的(這就是我們需要吃熱食的原因),然而要想達到能夠殺滅皮膚細菌的水平,水就必須滾燙才行。例如,沙門氏菌能夠在55攝氏度的環境下生存10分鐘以上。你要是用這么熱的水洗手,用不了30秒,你的皮膚就會嚴重燙傷。

To find out exactly how many microbes remain on our hands after washing in water ranging in temperature from 4.4C to 50C (39.9F to 122F), researchers in Florida used a method known as the glove-juice technique (though it’s not a juice you’d want to drink). Volunteers’ hands were wiped with a bacterial soup or with raw minced beef. Then their hands were washed in water of a certain temperature before they put on latex gloves and a special solution was poured into the gloves. After a minute of hand massage through the glove to make sure all those bacteria got into the liquid, the glove juice was collected using a pipette, ready for testing in the lab. They found that whether the water was cold, hot or middling made no statistically significant difference to the quantity of bacteria remaining on people’s hands.

為了了解用不同水溫的水洗手后手上殘留的微生物數量,佛羅里達州的研究人員采用了一種名為“手套-果汁技術”的手段(這里的果汁不是能喝的那種)。實驗中,先用生牛肉末擦志愿者的手,然后用不同溫度的水洗手。志愿者然后戴上乳膠手套,用一種特殊溶液灌到手套里。志愿者用一分鐘的時間按摩雙手,以確保手上殘留細菌完全進入溶液,然后用吸液管采集手套內溶液,在實驗室里進行檢測。研究者發現,無論用冷水、熱水還是溫水洗手,手上殘留的細菌數量都沒有顯著差異。

But before the hot taps are ripped out of public toilets, we shouldn’t forget the vagaries of human behaviour. In these experiments the hand washing was carefully timed, but in real life if the water is very hot or very cold, then we tend not to wash our hands for long. Just showing our hands the water isn’t enough, and some nice warm water might encourage us to tarry a while by the wash basin.

然而,要是我們由此而在公共廁所里取消熱水龍頭,恐怕并非一個好主意。要知道,人類行為是很奇特的。在上述實驗中,受試者的洗手時間都是固定的。但在真實生活中,如果水溫很高或很低,我們就不會洗很長時間的手,而讓人感覺舒適的溫水則會讓我們在洗手池邊站更長時間。

Is anti-bacterial hand wash better than soap?

抗菌洗手液比香皂更好?


A lot more research has been conducted regarding this one. Back in 2007 a review of the best studies concluded that the substance mostly commonly found in anti-bacterial hand washes at the time – triclosan – did not reduce the number of bacteria remaining on people’s hands after washing any more than soap did, nor was it any better than soap at preventing symptoms of an infection. A more recent review in 2015 came to the same conclusions.

關于此問題開展了很多研究。早在2007年,就有人總結了這些研究并得出結論說:與普通香皂相比,抗菌洗手液里最常見的殺菌成分三氯生并不會讓手上殘留的細菌數量更少,同時三氯生防止感染的能力也并不強于香皂。2015年進行的一項研究得出了同樣的結論。

Meanwhile a combination of laboratory studies showing that triclosan might increase the risk of anti-bacterial resistance and that it might affect hormone levels in animals, has led to a ban of triclosan in hand washes in the US and in the European Union.

與此同時,多家實驗室研究表明,三氯生可能會提高細菌抗藥性,同時影響動物體內的激素水平,因此美國和歐盟都發布了在洗手液中禁用三氯生的命令。

So it’s back to soap and water of whatever temperature you prefer.

所以還是用香皂和水洗手吧,同時水溫高低也并不重要。

Do you need to dry your hands afterwards?

洗手后有必要擦干/烘干手嗎?


When you’re in a hurry it’s tempting to let your hands drip dry. That’s fine if you don’t touch anything on your way out of the bathroom. If you do, you could pick up germs because they transfer to your hands more easily if they’re wet.

你要是有急事,往往等不及讓手自然風干。在離開衛生間時,雙手最好不去接觸任何物體。如果有接觸,濕手就會更容易沾染到細菌。

You also miss out on the benefits of drying your hands, which itself can lower the level of any remaining microbes left on your hands.

所以,洗手后盡量讓你的手變干燥,這樣會減少殘留在手上的細菌數量。

Hand dryer or hand towel?

用烘手機吹干還是紙巾擦干?


There’s a lot of debate surrounding this one. Most publications come down in favour of paper towels which get used just once. For a start it can be quicker than waiting for a traditional electric hand dryer to do the job. In a study from New Zealand (which, it must be pointed out, was funded by New Zealand Towel Service) people needed to wait 45 seconds for a dryer to evaporate the excess moisture on their hands. Most of us don’t want to hang around that long.

關于這個問題,人們仍然爭論不休。大多數論文傾向于認為一次性紙巾更好。它避免了用老式電動干手機烘干雙手所花費的時間。新西蘭開展的一項研究(必須指出,這項研究是由新西蘭紙巾協會贊助的)表明,人們需要45秒鐘才能烘干手上的多余水分。沒人愿意站在干手機前花那么長時間。

Now of course there’s a new generation of jet dryers which work faster. They have been shown to dry hands just as quickly and effectively as paper towels. Ten seconds with a towel or a jet dryer leaves hands equally dry.

當然,現在出現了烘干速度更快的噴射式干手機,這種干手機的烘干速度和效果和紙巾相差無幾——無論用噴射式干手機還是紙巾,都只需10秒鐘就能達到同樣的干手效果。

But the jet dryers have come under criticism, with the suggestion that they are so powerful that they could spread germs around the room. A study conducted at Westminster University found the most powerful hand dryers can spread a virus as far as 1.5m across the room and a later study increased this to three metres. But this isn’t cut and dried. Most of these studies have been funded by towel industry, who makes a living selling towels and not electric dryers. Then again, the authors are open about this and the research is published in peer-reviewed journals.

然而,有人批評噴射式干手機說,這種干手機的氣流功率太大,會把微生物向整個房間擴散。西敏寺大學(Westminster University)開展的一項研究發現,功率最大的干手機會把病毒散布到1.5米遠的位置,另一項研究則把這一數字提高到了3米。然而,這一說法卻并非定論。這些研究大多數都是由紙巾企業贊助的,這些企業靠賣紙巾生存,而不是電動干手機。這些文章作者們對于這一問題都保持開放態度,相關論文也都發表在供同行閱讀的專業期刊上。

The next step is for more research conducted in real public toilets, rather than in the lab.

下一步,研究的場所應當離開實驗室,來到真實的公共廁所。

And again, our preferences need to be taken into account. Any method that encourages people to dry their hands, rather than leaving them wet, is an improvement. Making toilets nicer could make a difference. The study which observed more than 3,000 people in a college town in the US, found that if the toilets were clean and well-kept, people were more likely to stop and wash their hands properly. When the sinks were dirty, they just wanted to get out of there.

與什么都不做,讓手濕淋淋相比,任何鼓勵人們干手的方法都是一項進步。更加舒適宜人的廁所會帶來巨大的變化。美國一座大學城對3,000余位學生進行了調查。調查發現,如果廁所很干凈且管理完善,人們就更愿意停下來認真洗手。但是如果洗手池很臟,他們就只想早點出去。

Whichever way you choose to wash and dry your hands, the main finding from research is to do it for longer than you think. To work up a good lather and to the palms and back of your hands as well as cleaning between your fingers, under your nails, and up to your wrists takes at least 15-30 seconds. Try singing Happy Birthday twice (just not out loud if it's a public bathroom).

研究發現,無論你采用哪種方式洗手或者干手,時間都是越長越好。打出大量肥皂沫,充分洗滌你的手掌、手背、指間、指甲縫和手腕至少需要15-30秒時間,這正好是把《祝你生日快樂》唱兩遍所需的時間(當然如果要是在公共廁所,請注意控制聲量)。
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