4 ineffectual germ prevention techniques, according to one RN

Elaine Larson, PhD, RN, an associate dean at Columbia University School of Nursing, was recently asked by CBS New York what common "hygienic" practices were most ineffectual for germ prevention.

Here are the germaphobic practices Dr. Larson found most useless.

1. The sidekick toilet flush: Dr. Larson cited this classic public restroom flush-technique as not very helpful. "The thing that you flush isn't any dirtier than a lot of other surfaces," she said. "There's no evidence that it makes any difference."

2. The hover: According to Dr. Larson, hovering over a toilet seat proves completely futile in circumstances involving automated flush. The splash-back effect will completely nullify the best hygienic intentions.

3. Holding your breath when someone next to you sneezes: Unless you've got scuba gear handy, you're just not going to be able to hold it long enough.

4. Wiping a cup to drink after someone else: "If anyone has a canker sore or a cold, they're going to be germs...they're still going to be there even if it's wiped off," Dr. Larson told CBS NewYork.

What garners Dr. Larson's approval? Hand sanitizer. "Fifteen seconds of application with wet alcohol is as effective as a five minute surgical scrub in terms of killing germs," she said.

More articles on infection control: 
Flu vaccine 60% effective, CDC says 
Antibody treatment eliminates Ebola symptoms in 5 days 
Modified implant surface treatment reduces bacteria, research shows

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