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Super Bowl Sanitation: "Washed Up" Giants Outpoint Docs in Hand Hygiene

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On Forbes.com, Michael Millenson prepares for Super Bowl Sunday by comparing hand hygiene habits in an NFL locker room to big-city train stations and intensive care units. 

Is the New York Giants bathroom more sanitary than your hospital room? Could be. And that player cleanliness may even have helped send the team to the Super Bowl.

Freakonomics co-author and self-confessed germophobe Stephen Dubner, working on a Football Freakonomics segment for the National Football League, noticed that every urinal in the football Giants’ bathroom had a plastic pump bottle of hand sanitizer perched on top – a phenomenon he promptly documented photographically.

Health care-associated infections cause more than 98,000 patient deaths every year. Yet as I’ve noted previously, the guy who just used the toilet at the train station is way more likely to have clean hands than the guy walking up to your bed – or into the operating room – at the local hospital. That’s based on my comparing hospital sanitation with the results of a surreptitious survey by researchers from Harris Interactive of more than 6,000 adults using restrooms at six high-volume sites across the country.

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