Americans are taking action to avoid getting sick, according to the 2016 Healthy Hand Washing Survey conducted by Bradley Corporation. The survey found that 71% of adults always make it a point to wash their hands after handling a sick child. Hand washing with soap is smart since close contact with a sick individual is a risk factor for contracting an illness.
A majority also say they always wash up after sneezing, coughing or visiting a doctor’s office. That’s more good news since research has shown virus particles can travel up to 12 feet through the air when someone coughs or sneezes.
“This time of year, we’re surrounded by family, friends and co-workers who are sick or may be getting sick. That’s why it’s so important to realize the first defense against illness is to remove germs and viruses from our hands by washing frequently and vigorously.”
– Jon Dommisse; Director of Global Marketing and Strategic Development at Bradley Corp.
Hand Hygiene at Home
At home, the survey found parents institute a variety of hand washing rules for their children.
- Nearly 90% insist young ones suds up after using the bathroom
- Almost 75% insist their child washes up before meals
Hand Hygiene at Work
In the workplace, many adults take definitive steps to reduce their contact with a sick colleague’s germs.
- 60% generally avoid being near the person
- 54% wash their hands more frequently
- Over 50% avoid shaking their colleague’s hand
A troubling finding from the survey is the fact that 40% of Americans don’t increase their hand washing during seasonal flu outbreaks.
“Flu viruses can be highly contagious and can be transferred to your hands by touching surfaces or things that have been contaminated. When there’s an outbreak, it’s essential to step up your hand washing diligence.”- Jon Dommisse
On a positive note, the majority of respondents say they try to avoid coming in contact with germs in public restrooms.
- Almost 60% operate the flusher with their foot
- 55% use paper towel to avoid contact with restroom door handles
- Over 40% open and close doors with their butt to avoid hand contact
Public Restroom Woes
Unfortunately, nearly 70% of Americans say they’ve had a particularly unpleasant experience in a public restroom due to the condition of the facilities. What causes such an unpleasant experience?
- Nearly 80% indicated a bad smell or clogged toilets
- 74% indicated the overall appearance was dirty or unkempt
- 57% indicated the partition doors don’t latch closed
When asked what improvement they’d most like to see in a public restroom, top requests include cleanliness, a touchless experience and better stocking of restroom supplies.
Cell Phone Use in the Restroom
The majority of Americans, despite their surroundings, admit they are comfortable using their cell phone while in a public or workplace restroom stall. Texting is the most common cell phone activity completed in a stall, followed by checking or sending email. Surprisingly, six percent of all Americans say they’ve taken a photo in the stall while eight percent of men admit they’ve checked their fantasy sports league.
“When you consider the fact that London scientists found one out of six cell phones have fecal matter on them it’s really gross to think about people using their phone in a restroom stall and then leaving without washing up.”- Jon Dommisse
The 2016 Healthy Hand Washing survey queried 1,062 American adults online Dec. 10-13, 2015 about their hand washing habits in public restrooms and concerns about germs, colds and the flu. Participants were from around the country, ranged in age from 18-65+, and were fairly evenly split between men (47%) and women (53%).