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Will hand washing dry up?

As the media frenzy and public fears about swine flu/H1N1 rescinds, health experts are worried that hand washing vigilance will slack.

"Just weeks ago, Americans were hearing similar, daily pleas from health officials and even President Obama as initial fears about a new flu virus, called H1N1 or swine flu, peaked. In a phone survey in early May, 67% of adults said they or others in their homes were washing their hands more often, reported the Harvard School of Public Health. Richard Besser, acting chief of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said the increase might produce health benefits well beyond controlling H1N1.

For now, those who make it their business to promote hand-washing — to prevent flus, colds, food poisoning, infectious diarrhea, skin infections and other hand-borne illnesses — are hopeful but doubtful.

"I'm sure there are more people washing hands, but I don't think it's going to last," says B. Susie Craig, a food safety specialist and hand-washing expert at Washington State University's extension service."

Let's hope this is not the case! Hand washing is vital for everyday health and this is the message that should be getting accross.

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