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dragonlord24601

Communal Hand Washing on ships

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We have just seen what can happen on the Diamond Princess with virus and transmission and now the death toll stands at three. I was looking at some news articles and saw a picture of the handwashing basins at the entrance to the buffet. I began wondering are these hygienic so I did some research. I found this publication https://www.hindawi.com/journals/ijmicro/2016/2617473/which does not reassure me and makes me think that it is best not to wash your hands at communal stations at all but rather to do it in your own cabin. Although passengers are not sharing the water there is the possibility of splashes and water vapour. Those hand dryers in toilets are also full of bacteria. What people do not know is that when you wash your hands and dry them those machines suck up all the air and moisture including urine and fecal vapours and then spread all those germs over you newly washed hands.

 

Is it time for a rethink in hygiene on ships, what are your thoughts on this subject. If you go on a cruise again will you use the communal washing basins or politely decline?

 

With South Korea getting more cases of the virus I have seen reports that it will not be allowing cruise ships for the foreseeable future. This as I see it has laid up the Diamond Princess, Sapphire Princess, Majestic Princess, Spectrum of the Seas, Pacific Explorer and Westerdam which are now either out of service or have a series of cancelled cruises.

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The study is for comparing a communal bowl of standing wash water.

Under the Conclusion:

"In the absence of running tap water in most locations, provision of “bowl water” for handwashing in preschools has been a common practice within the Accra Metropolis. The current study demonstrated the presence of microbes of faecal and zoonotic origin in some of the swabs and water samples examined (except for rotavirus)"

 

The sample size was 3 water sources + 3 hand swabs from 6 schools in Ghana*, though logic does follow that sharing someone else's wash water isn't a wise health idea.

 

The hand blower vs paper towel bacteria spreading research is largely done as sponsored studies by the corporations which produce such things https://www.theguardian.com/society/2019/apr/25/hand-dryers-paper-towels-hygiene-dyson-airblade 

 

I think the standalone highly visible washing stations near the entrances of buffets or other dining venues is a good thing.  In fact, add some to the youth clubs when checking in and out.  You can wash your hands in the cabin AND at the hand washing station which is assuredly better than sharing serving utensils and public common surfaces with the people who don't wash at either.

 

* Publishing in a journal doesn't mean something is reliable science.  It's one of the most startling things I learned from a few friends who got their science PhD's in different areas from excellent universities.  It could be

Edited by travelpeon

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43 minutes ago, travelpeon said:

The study is for comparing a communal bowl of standing wash water.

Under the Conclusion:

"In the absence of running tap water in most locations, provision of “bowl water” for handwashing in preschools has been a common practice within the Accra Metropolis. The current study demonstrated the presence of microbes of faecal and zoonotic origin in some of the swabs and water samples examined (except for rotavirus)"

 

The sample size was 3 water sources + 3 hand swabs from 6 schools in Ghana*, though logic does follow that sharing someone else's wash water isn't a wise health idea.

 

The hand blower vs paper towel bacteria spreading research is largely done as sponsored studies by the corporations which produce such things https://www.theguardian.com/society/2019/apr/25/hand-dryers-paper-towels-hygiene-dyson-airblade 

 

I think the standalone highly visible washing stations near the entrances of buffets or other dining venues is a good thing.  In fact, add some to the youth clubs when checking in and out.  You can wash your hands in the cabin AND at the hand washing station which is assuredly better than sharing serving utensils and public common surfaces with the people who don't wash at either.

 

* Publishing in a journal doesn't mean something is reliable science.  It's one of the most startling things I learned from a few friends who got their science PhD's in different areas from excellent universities.  It could be

With the articles I never read anything related to the Guardian as they are considered an extreme left oriented media source and unreliable or fictitious news.

 

It is something I would like to do more research on because with the number of viral cases on that ship I no longer feel safe with existing sanitisation methods. The whole bowl could be a breeding ground for bacteria and virus.

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2 minutes ago, dragonlord24601 said:

With the articles I never read anything related to the Guardian as they are considered an extreme left oriented media source and unreliable or fictitious news.

And extreme right media sources are reliable and truthful?

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4 minutes ago, dragonlord24601 said:

With the articles I never read anything related to the Guardian as they are considered an extreme left oriented media source and unreliable or fictitious news.

 

It is something I would like to do more research on because with the number of viral cases on that ship I no longer feel safe with existing sanitisation methods. The whole bowl could be a breeding ground for bacteria and virus.

You have failed to comprehend pretty  much anything that travelpeon wrote. In the study you quoted, the 'bowl' was a communal one, which used the same water over & over, nothing analogous to handbasins with running water & soap that are used on cruise ships.

The referenced article was given to show how studies can be influenced by the sponsor, not to hold up the Guardian as the bastion of truth. travelpeon then listed a number of points that we should be mindful of when considering reports, irrespective of the source - leftwing, rightwing or indeed centre or no wing.

 

I will continue to use the handwashing facilities provided on ship and elsewhere, including I note by surgeons in hospital operating theatres.

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6 minutes ago, dragonlord24601 said:

It is something I would like to do more research on because with the number of viral cases on that ship I no longer feel safe with existing sanitisation methods. The whole bowl could be a breeding ground for bacteria and virus.


I'm always for people doing more independent quality research, though not entirely from their own news preference.  Bias goes both ways.

 

Cruise ships are petri dishes and I do tell friends new to cruising that they are.  It isn't a clean industry, either in bacteria or ecological impact. 

 

Funny enough my partner's biggest hang up wasn't noro or flu dangers (before coronavirus) but whether meat was being stored properly.  Silversea Silver Shadow was surprise inspected by US Public Health and fined for storing raw meat in non-refrigerated areas like crew quarters. Silver Spirit also failed public health inspection by US Public Health in 2019.  The CDC has advisory and test results available on their website https://www.cdc.gov/nceh/vsp/default.htm  

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We've cruised several times on Viking.  Under "normal" circumstances, the waiter assigned to take you to your table in the main dining room stands in front of the wash station and requests that you wash at the sink or use hand sanitizer.  I'm expecting things on our next trip to be much more serious.  No doubt you will be required to wash up.  I don't have a problem with that.  

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No issue using the wash stations on entry and prefer them much over hand santisers, which are less effective and more wasteful.

 

On balance, I'd see them as marginally less hygienic than using the one in your cabin, but not hazardous or a reason to avoid them.

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I don't recall seeing air hand dryers on any cruise ship I've been on. Always paper towels or fresh individual hand towels. Tissues or paper towels available to open doors when necessary. Also on some ships the hand basins are wiped out regularly by attendants, especially at busy times.

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I think practicing good hygiene is important and it involves more than just handwashing, it is much more.

It includes not eating with your hands, not touching your face, eyes, nose, mouth with your hands, covering up sneezes and coughs, washing and/or sanitising regularly but especially before and after doing any activities where any of those things mentioned may occur.

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4 hours ago, mr walker said:

You have failed to comprehend pretty  much anything that travelpeon wrote. In the study you quoted, the 'bowl' was a communal one, which used the same water over & over, nothing analogous to handbasins with running water & soap that are used on cruise ships.

The referenced article was given to show how studies can be influenced by the sponsor, not to hold up the Guardian as the bastion of truth. travelpeon then listed a number of points that we should be mindful of when considering reports, irrespective of the source - leftwing, rightwing or indeed centre or no wing.

 

I will continue to use the handwashing facilities provided on ship and elsewhere, including I note by surgeons in hospital operating theatres.

After watching the virus outbreak I am now worried. I do not think those hand washing basins at the entry to the buffet are clean and healthy and will be politely declining to use them or go near them. I will take my own hand sanitiser if need be but I will not be using a communal hand basin. The issue I have with it is that there is moisture there, water splashes and the temperature is just right for all sorts of bacteria, viruses, germs to thrive and flourish. I am worried that even if I did wash my hands and cleaned them thoroughly that they would become instantly dirty again if splashes from other people or germs found their way onto my hands after I cleaned them and that is not a risk I want to take.

 

 

4 hours ago, lyndarra said:

And extreme right media sources are reliable and truthful?

I do not read any extreme right or left wing media articles. I found a website that lists them and I only read or watch news from impartial sources that are not politically biased. The Guardian is one I will never take seriously.

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27 minutes ago, dragonlord24601 said:

After watching the virus outbreak I am now worried. I do not think those hand washing basins at the entry to the buffet are clean and healthy and will be politely declining to use them or go near them. I will take my own hand sanitiser if need be but I will not be using a communal hand basin. The issue I have with it is that there is moisture there, water splashes and the temperature is just right for all sorts of bacteria, viruses, germs to thrive and flourish. I am worried that even if I did wash my hands and cleaned them thoroughly that they would become instantly dirty again if splashes from other people or germs found their way onto my hands after I cleaned them and that is not a risk I want to take.


Have you ever used these basins at the entry to the buffet? You don’t touch the tap or the soap dispenser - they are automatic. I have seen them cleaned regularly by staff. It is more likely that you will catch a virus from someone who coughs or sneezes on you than you catching something from the hand basin which has splashed on you. Hand sanitisers are not necessarily the best thing to use. Nothing beats soap and water.
 

Leigh

Edited by possum52

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Agreed, I am thinking anyone who refuses to use the hand washing facilities and or sanitisers should be excluded from the buffet all together. The OP may not want to wash her hands but the very fears they have with others having a contaminant being spread at the hand wash area are a hundredfold more by them not washing in the rest of the buffet.

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1 hour ago, possum52 said:


Have you ever used these basins at the entry to the buffet? You don’t touch the tap or the soap dispenser - they are automatic. I have seen them cleaned regularly by staff. It is more likely that you will catch a virus from someone who coughs or sneezes on you than you catching something from the hand basin which has splashed on you. Hand sanitisers are not necessarily the best thing to use. Nothing beats soap and water.
 

Leigh

Or grabbing the hand rails, pushing the elevator buttons etc etc. Important to wash.

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2 hours ago, dragonlord24601 said:

After watching the virus outbreak I am now worried. I do not think those hand washing basins at the entry to the buffet are clean and healthy and will be politely declining to use them or go near them. I will take my own hand sanitiser if need be but I will not be using a communal hand basin. The issue I have with it is that there is moisture there, water splashes and the temperature is just right for all sorts of bacteria, viruses, germs to thrive and flourish. I am worried that even if I did wash my hands and cleaned them thoroughly that they would become instantly dirty again if splashes from other people or germs found their way onto my hands after I cleaned them and that is not a risk I want to take.

 

As others have said, the wash basins are automatic with the provision of clean towels for drying. Put in context, you are talking about protection from a virus or viruses for which the use of sanitizer has negligible or no effect. It is the physical action of washing for 20 seconds that is effective (on entering dining areas). Unless you want to start carrying a small bottle of chlorine bleach with which to wash your hands - it is effective in killing viruses.

Edited by lyndarra
typo

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Some older ships still have hot air dryers. I never use them for the aforementioned reasons. I'll use the towels to dry my hands and another clean towel to open the door of the rest room when leaving.

One of the restrooms on Maasdam had one which annoyed me. The damn thing would come on as my shoulder passed it leaving the room after using a towel to dry my hands. Perhaps it was jealous of all the attention the towel was getting.😄

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2 hours ago, possum52 said:


Have you ever used these basins at the entry to the buffet? You don’t touch the tap or the soap dispenser - they are automatic. I have seen them cleaned regularly by staff. It is more likely that you will catch a virus from someone who coughs or sneezes on you than you catching something from the hand basin which has splashed on you. Hand sanitisers are not necessarily the best thing to use. Nothing beats soap and water.
 

Leigh

I have never used them as I think they are very unhealthy and not clean enough for my use. I usually take my own soap dispenser for my cabin. I also do not use guard rails or lifts either so I think my hands are fine from cabin to buffet. I will use the sanitiser though but definitely not the communal wash basin. Bugs and germs could thrive in such a moist environment. With my work I am interacting with the general public every day including physical contact. I always wash my hands privately with soap before eating and for the past few years I have not caught the flu and even get vaccinated for it. When I see others knocked down at my workplace with bugs and viruses then I know I am doing the right thing when I do not catch them. The issue I have with the communal ones at the buffet is there is too much people traffic for them to be effectively cleaned. With my work I am dealing with the frail, elderly and people who could have compromised immune systems. I take my health seriously and have always had my doubts about the communal wash basins as being dangerous instead of helpful.

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This is one reason why I avoid the buffet whenever possible, MDR meals may take a little longer but then it is much more civilised and you can avoid having possible contact with all the non hand washers spreading disease.

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On my recent Dream Explorer not one person asked us to do washy washy. And in the buffet there were no covers on the bain maries, in the dining room meals given to the wrong person and sometimes the wrong tables and were just picked up and given the right person etc.

 

I was appalled at the lack of hygiene and hope they have upped their game in that regard.

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1 hour ago, Cruisegroover said:

On my recent Dream Explorer not one person asked us to do washy washy. And in the buffet there were no covers on the bain maries, in the dining room meals given to the wrong person and sometimes the wrong tables and were just picked up and given the right person etc.

 

I was appalled at the lack of hygiene and hope they have upped their game in that regard.

It may take an outbreak to force the issue

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I remember years ago a Myth Busters episode where they compared paper drying and air dryer. In their experiment they found that with the air dryer it would spread water from your hands to the wall behind, as a result it became a breeding ground for bacteria. When I use those new dyson air dryer I have noticed because of the shape all the water pools at the bottom. Does make me wonder if they are any healthier than the old fashioned air dryers

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As long as the walls are cleaned regularly and people do not touch them, I don't see the issue either way.

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2 hours ago, MicCanberra said:

As long as the walls are cleaned regularly and people do not touch them, I don't see the issue either way.

Bacteria can jump and leap in an environment where outside forces influence it. For example any bacteria and fungal build up on a wall when hit by a breeze or some sort of force it forces minute particles to dislodge and move which may be the next persons hand that they land on.

 

It is the same with those communal wash basins at the buffet entry. You may think you are cleaning your hands but there is a buildup of bacteria and germs landing on the surrounding surfaces. When you get flows of water this will displace the air around the basin (much like the piston effect of a train that you can feel it arriving at the platform before it gets there) and the movement of hands and people also displace air, droplets and particles forcing germs and bacteria to jump and spread to other surfaces. This is why they are so unhealthy due to the number of people using them and the high amount of germs and bacteria that can build up and spread from surface to person and person to surface. Even though you are washing your hands when you complete washing there is still people traffic movement and the air moving around is enough to dislodge all those microparticles and have them land on your freshly cleaned hands.

 

Every time I have gone though the area I keep a wide berth and politely decline. If I am asked why then I will give them an explanation.

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3 minutes ago, dragonlord24601 said:

Bacteria can jump and leap in an environment where outside forces influence it. For example any bacteria and fungal build up on a wall when hit by a breeze or some sort of force it forces minute particles to dislodge and move which may be the next persons hand that they land on.

 

It is the same with those communal wash basins at the buffet entry. You may think you are cleaning your hands but there is a buildup of bacteria and germs landing on the surrounding surfaces. When you get flows of water this will displace the air around the basin (much like the piston effect of a train that you can feel it arriving at the platform before it gets there) and the movement of hands and people also displace air, droplets and particles forcing germs and bacteria to jump and spread to other surfaces. This is why they are so unhealthy due to the number of people using them and the high amount of germs and bacteria that can build up and spread from surface to person and person to surface. Even though you are washing your hands when you complete washing there is still people traffic movement and the air moving around is enough to dislodge all those microparticles and have them land on your freshly cleaned hands.

 

Every time I have gone though the area I keep a wide berth and politely decline. If I am asked why then I will give them an explanation.

I'm beginning to wonder why you venture out your front door. There must be germs dropping on you from all over and if the wind is up lookout.  Germs, i.e. bacteria keep us healthy.

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