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Inquiry Question: Will washing hands regularly actually lead the way to a world a superbugs?

Primary Purpose: I am curious about how legitimate the new findings about hand washing are in the scientific community. It is always hard to come to the realization that something that was believed to be right, such as washing hands, for so long may actually be aiding in something more harmful. Is it that washing hands does actually help you, but the fact that it is so much more common in the modern world make it harmful because all bacteria are being killed? Is it perhaps that we are no longer washing our hands with plain soap, but actually with sanitizing agents that kill everything, even the good bacteria? And most importantly, is the scientific community fearful of these new superbugs coming from this predicament, and if so, what should the public do about it? Primary Knowledge: What I am really interested in is the emergence of superbugs in hospitals and in the community because of over-sanitation. After a while, viruses and bacteria can adapt to the environment around them. If the anti-bacterial soap that you are using to wash your hands does not kill 100% of the bad germs, then those germs will build up a resistance against them and it will become harder to kill them in order to prevent and cure disease/sickness. Because of this issue, MRSA has become a huge issue for hospitals and its patients. What I do not know is, whether or not washing hands with soap and water causes that or if it is really just the anti-bacterial part of it. Beliefs, Assumptions, and Stereotypes: Growing up your parents always tell you to wash your hands before everything. Before you eat, when you come home, etc. It becomes a habit and when you go camping or are in a place where hand washing is unavailable, I feel weird, because it has become a habit for me and I feel very

unclean without doing it. I tend to feel that not washing hands for a little while will definitely result in becoming sick after a while. It is interesting to me how much more clean and sanitized people feel by using hand sanitizer when it really does not clean your hands at all, but rather kills all of the germs. But even that statement makes me think: germs do not just die instantly. You have to wash your hands for a certain amount of time before it is effective, so shouldnt you also have to apply hand sanitizer on your hands for a certain amount of time also? Working Knowledge: The type of information that I will be working with primarily will be medical journals and science experimentation documents. I will also try and create some kind of survey to see if I can find a correlation between how many times a person gets sick per year and how frequently they wash their hands. I will want to analyze the historical aspect of hand washing too: how it has helped over time and how the introduction of more Superbugs in the human population has occurred at the same time of sanitation agents. I will also look into the CDC database on this issue as well as other government sites on public health research. An example source can be seen below: In her article, Antibacterial Products May Fuel Growth of Superbugs, Jacqueline Stenson discusses how using products with certain antibacterial agents can actually cause e.coli to thrive. After the initial successes of the antibacterial agent, the surviving e.coli will be resistant to it and will then grow the same, with or without the presence of the antibacterial agent. Need to Expand/Need to narrow: I feel like with this subject, the interesting aspect of this topic that I will eventually focus my writing about will come across when I start researching. The topic is pretty broad, but I think I

want to start broad for a few days and see what comes up, because there are some really interesting articles to read about it that all focus on a specific aspect of it.