Hand washing isn't for everyone

August 30, 2012|By Meredith Cohn

Most people know that hand washing is the most important method of preventing the spread of germs. Yet another new study says people still aren’t doing it enough.

They also aren’t washing for long enough.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends singing “Happy Birthday” twice while washing, the equivalent of about 20 seconds of washing. But 57 percent of respondents to a national survey said they wash for just 5 to 15 seconds.

About three quarters also don’t ramp up hand washing during germy flu season, which peaks in February, according to the Bradley Corp., which makes bathroom furnishing and conducted the study.

This is the fourth year the company has done the survey and officials said there was some good news.

About 70 percent of Americans say they always wash their hands after using a public restroom, but that means the rest don’t. One percent admitted to never washing.

Three quarters also said they’ve seen other people leave the public restroom without washing their hands, though only 42 percent say they’ve witnesses this in the work environment.

More than 60 percent say they only use water and not soap. Some say they use sanitizer later, though some say there was no soap. (The CDC says sanitizer is okay if hands aren’t visibly dirty, but soap is better.)

About 84 percent planned to talk to their kids about the importance of washing at school.

The survey found some just about half of Americans said they had a particularly unpleasant public restroom experience, with gas stations being the worst offenders.

The survey questioned 1,046 adults from around the country.

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