University News

Unwashed Hands are Hazardous to Public Health—So Handwashing is Critical, Says William Paterson University Biology Professor Miryam Wahrman

Wahrman, author of the forthcoming book, "The Hand Book: Surviving in a Germ-Filled World," and other experts will discuss the topic during a forum on Thursday, May 5 at 12:30 p.m. on campus in conjunction with the WHO’s World Hand Hygiene Day

--Her new book, The Hand Book: Surviving in a Germ-Filled World, documents the growing threat society faces from germs and how handwashing provides protection

Unwashed hands can be hazardous to your health, and are a threat to public health, says William Paterson University biology professor Miryam Wahrman. Wahrman is the author of the forthcoming book, The Hand Book: Surviving in a Germ-Filled World, which documents the growing threat society faces from germs in the home, daycare and healthcare facilities, and the community, and recommends simple acts of hygiene, namely handwashing, that can protect us and keep us healthier.

Wahrman and other healthcare and public health experts will discuss the topic during a forum, “Surviving in a Germ-Filled World,” on Thursday, May 5 from 12:30 to 2 p.m. in the Cheng Library Auditorium on the University’s campus in Wayne. The event, held in conjunction with the World Health Organization’s World Hand Hygiene Day, is free and open to the public.

“Hand hygiene can be a life-and-death issue in hospitals, but it also sickens people in other settings on a daily basis,” says Wahrman.  “One approach that reduces the risk of contracting many infectious diseases is the simple act of handwashing. Hand hygiene reduces the transmission of disease and the number of victims in homes, schools, workplaces, hospitals, clinics, and other healthcare settings.”

The panel will discuss risks surrounding hand hygiene, offer solutions and approaches for staying healthy and address audience questions and concerns. In addition to Wahrman, the expert panelists of William Paterson professors and alumni include:

-       Corey Basch, associate professor of public health;

-       Persephone Vargas, assistant professor of nursing;

-       Cindy Gennarelli, director of early childhood innovation;

-       Araceli Pintle, health educator, City of Passaic Division of Health; and

-       Mark Mora, senior registered environmental health specialist, Passaic City Division of Health.

Wahrman’s book, scheduled for release on May 2, is a definitive volume on the importance of hand hygiene and advocates hand health as a deterrent for colds, infections and diseases, offering a number of simple tips on better hand hygiene in a variety of settings.  She also describes her own research in her campus lab on how neckties and other fabrics can harbor living bacteria for long periods of time, which can be transferred to other surfaces and back again.  “The science is complex but the message is simple, she says. “The goal of The Hand Book is to serve as a road map to safer hands, better hygiene, better health, and a longer life.”

This event is sponsored by William Paterson University’s Departments of Biology, Nursing, Public Health and Elementary and Early Childhood Education, the Public Health Club, the Bioethics Club, and the Counseling, Health and Wellness Center.

# # #