The worrying health consequences of not washing your hands after you go to the toilet

<em>Just how bad for your health is not washing your hands after you go to the toilet? (Picture: Getty)</em>
Just how bad for your health is not washing your hands after you go to the toilet? (Picture: Getty)

It’s something we get drummed into us as children and tend to carry on for the rest of our lives.

But if you didn’t wash your hands after going to the toilet, is it really that bad for your health?

According to a YouGov poll last year, there are plenty of people who don’t always wash their hands after going to the toilet.

The poll, which asked people about their hand-washing habits in a variety of situations – including at work – found revealed that one in six men and one in 10 women don’t always wash their hands after having a poo at work.

It may gross us out, but does people not washing their hands actually have serious health risks?

Speaking on the latest episode of Yahoo UK’s podcast Britain Is A Nation Of…., Dr Daniel Atkinson, clinical director at online consultation and prescription service, said the worrying part comes with what the people who don’t wash their hands touch after they leave the bathroom – especially in the office.

“Probably the door handle, and then it’s the shared keyboard on the hot desks and all those things you touch that everyone else touches,” he said.

Listen to the full episode of Britain is a Nation of… below

The main health risk of not washing your hands after a poo is the bacteria it contains, he said.

“The key one is E. coli and that’s something that we probably come into contact with lots.

“For healthy people it’s not nice but it’s probably not a big deal. But for your elderly parents or your very young children or people that have got other illnesses it’s not great for them at all because it can cause illness.

“A lot of diarrhoea and sickness is caused by E. coli, some urinary tract infections are caused by that.

“So it’s just not a nice thing. And for a nation of people who call ourselves polite, it’s just not a very polite thing to not do.”

So next time, remember to wash your hands.

To hear more unpacking of statistics about British people, listen to the full episode above, or download it on Apple Podcasts, Acast, or Spotify to listen while on the go.

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