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Study: Americans have bad bathroom habits

PHOENIX -- It looks like most of us need better habits in the bathroom.

A new Michigan State University study said 95 percent of Americans do not wash their hands for long enough after using the restroom.

The findings irritate Leah Hershberger, who is a nurse at St. Joseph's Hospital in Phoenix.

"We've all been in public restrooms, and we've all seen people walk out without washing their hands," she said. "My first thought, immediately is ĎAll of the things that they touch, then I am touching. Even if I have washed my hands properly, I am subjected to the germs that are out there, because other people aren't washing.'"

Hershberger said that could lead to the spread of a lot of germs and diseases.

"Crypto, which is a bacteria that can make people very, very sick. The flu, colds, hepatitis -- hepatitis A in particular," she said. "You can be exposed to all of those if people don't wash their hands well enough."

Hershberger said there is an easy way to make sure your hands are clean: sing.

"You want to moisten your hands, put the soap on your hands, then have good scrubbing activity with the soap," she said, adding that you should keep the soap on your hands for about the same length of time it takes to sing "Happy Birthday," then rinse. You should also use hand sanitizer as often as possible.

Hershberger also suggested that, when leaving a public restroom, you should put a paper towel between your hand and the door handle so that you won't catch the germs that were left by the last person.

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About the Author


Years with the company: I started on January 2, 2006.

Education: I was born in San Antonio, Texas, but we moved to Phoenix when I was one-year-old in 1957. I grew up here and graduated from Alhambra High School and attended Phoenix College.

Family: I am married to my wife Rene', who is a librarian in the Washington school district. During free time, I may be found playing basketball in the driveway with my son, Devin. He's also keeping me busy with school, Little League, and playing in chess tournaments around the Valley.

Favorite food: Lots of favorite food, but our favorite restaurant is Fajitas.

Favorite spot in Arizona: The Little America Hotel in Flagstaff.

Favorite news memory: We have to go back to October 15, 1979. I was a country music air personality at KROP Radio in Brawley, California, when we had a 6.7 earthquake. Thankfully, there were no deaths and only minor injuries, but the entire community was pretty freaked out and listening to the station on their transistor radios. I would not want to go through an earthquake again, but it sure was a great night to work in radio and see how it can make a difference in people's lives.

First job: Working as a stringer for 'The Arizona Republic' at high school football games. My first real job was flipping burgers at the old Sandy's Hamburgers at 51st Avenue and Indian School Road. My first radio job was as announcer at KALJ radio in Yuma in 1977.

First concert: Doug Oldham gospel concert in the 1970s at the old East High School in Phoenix.

Favorite sports team: Phoenix Roadrunners minor league hockey. My dad took me to a game when I was in grade school, and I was hooked. I wanted to be a radio hockey play-by-play man. I used to take my cassette recorder and sit up in the rafters of the Coliseum and do play-by-play. It was great later in life to also take my son to Roadrunners games. Too bad the team just folded, I'll miss them. (Going to the Coyotes is fun, but they're not "my" team.)

Outside interests: My family and I are active in our church - Northern Hills Community Church in Phoenix. We enjoy going to movies, sporting events, and like to vacation at the Beach Cottages in the Pacific Beach area of San Diego. And I love to play catch, basketball, football with my son.

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