You’ll know in about four hours.
Whether you got away without washing your hands or not.
Not that you really think about it when you’re having fun. You’re on a roll – grab a burger and go, go, go! Why not, it’s summer. Party time!
Until your four hours are up.
Paying the price
That’s how long the collywobbles usually take.
Cramps, nausea – the price you pay for forgetting soap and water.
Not nice, but it could be worse.
Like full-on norovirus – the super-puke nasty. All happy-happy for up to three days before it kicks in.
Then the cramps.
And the nausea, so bad you think you might die. And the vomiting, so bad you’re terrified that you won’t.
Oh yes, and the diarrhoea – all of your insides suddenly outside and burning like hell – over and over again. Up to four days of it if you’re unlucky.
Serious dehydration and up to a million hospital cases every year in the UK. And the lurking reality that 80 people a year actually die from it.
One hell of a price to pay for a burger.
Down and dirty
Because that’s where it starts. Right there at your fingertips. Or more accurately, ON your fingertips.
You see, we reckon we’re so safe and invincible most of the time, hand hygiene never even occurs to us. This is good old Britain, it can’t happen to us. It’s not like we’re in darkest Africa – underdeveloped, underfunded and forgotten, with disease round every corner.
So it’s highly likely we can go through a WHOLE DAY without washing our hands even once. Touching handles, keypads, phones – and then our faces, where germs are most likely to get in.
Not everything we touch is clean either – so there’s dirt and crud and other stuff, even poo.
Don’t believe it? A totally staggering number of us NEVER wash our hands after going to the loo.
And how about those nappy changes on the back seat of the car, which only gets cleaned maybe once a month? Do you always use wet wipes? Do you even carry a gel?
Fact is, 95% of us don’t wash our hands properly even when we do. A five-second rinse under the tap does nothing – or makes it even worse if you dry your hands on your clothes. Germs thrive on dirty wet.
Five minutes of easy effort to avoid the death of us – and still we don’t do it. That’s why we call it the Don’t-Wash-Hands Disease.
Because nine times out of ten, all those food poisoning stories you hear are self-inflicted.
Dodgy dinner ingredients or scruffy staff?
You might want to rethink that. Because even the poshest of us never thinks to wash our hands before sitting down to splurge in a five-star restaurant.
And the germs on the door handle of a Mercedes ML 450 are just as potent as those on the strap-handles of the Bakerloo Line.
Far and wide
Worse, because of the incubation period, it spreads to everyone we have contact with and we’re none of us any the wiser. Everyone we meet, touch, hug, shake hands with, kiss.
And norovirus is possibly the most contagious of all time. More than the common cold. So transfer is inevitable. Everyone can get it and does – the ultimate cruise ship souvenir.
Plus, you’ve got to remember it’s a virus. A half-alive organism that can last active and awake for days and weeks without sustenance. Or survive dormant for years if necessary, waiting for your live body cells to give it power and energy.
So it’s not the burger that gives you cramps.
It’s unwashed hands. Forgetfulness. Unintended negligence that could cost you your life.
Five minutes with soap and water, that’s all.
A good burger from McDonalds is less than a quid, surely you’re worth more than that?