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Entries in Hand Washing (9)

Thursday
Nov012012

Poll: Americans' Hand-Washing Habits Good but Not Great

Medioimages/Photodisc(NEW YORK) -- People much more often than not wash their hands after using a public restroom, according to a new survey.  But they frequently don’t use soap while running their hands under water.

The results of a poll conducted by washroom accessories maker Bradley Corp. of 1,000 U.S. adults found that people on average washed their hands before exiting a public restroom about 87 percent of the time.

While that number is encouraging, the fact that 62 percent admit that they sometimes rinse with water minus soap doesn’t exactly make you want to stand up and cheer for American hygiene.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, hand-washing after using the lavatory facilities should last 20 seconds.  The CDC also recommends drying your hands with a paper towel or better still, air dry them, rather than using a shared towel or wiping them off on your pants or shirt.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Sep062012

Many Americans Skip Washing Hands After Using Public Restrooms

Medioimages/Photodisc(NEW YORK) --Many Americans are lax when it comes to washing their hands after using a public restroom, a new survey finds.

The survey, commissioned by the Bradley Corporation, a manufacturer of plumbing fixtures, finds 29 percent of respondents say they sometimes skip washing their hands and 1 percent confess they never wash after using a public restroom.

The survey also finds that 70 percent of Americans say they always wash their hands.  That’s good news, but 57 percent of respondents estimate they wash their hands for just five to 15 seconds, when in fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends washing for at least 20 seconds to allow enough time to rinse off germs.

Bradley’s Healthy Hand Washing Survey involved 1,046 American adults.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Dec212011

Holiday Travel Tip: Wash Your Hands

Medioimages/Photodisc(NEW YORK) –- It's the No. 1 rule that experts repeat over and over again: Wash hands.

"You're constantly touching surfaces that people have sneezed and coughed on, and then because you're in a crowded airport or on a plane you may get hot or sweaty, you wipe your eyes, nose or mouth and can spread germs," said Dr. Michael Perskin, assistant professor of medicine at NYU Langone Medical Center.

Soap and water aren't always available, so alcohol-based hand sanitizers are essential travel items.

"Liberal and frequent use of alcohol hand rubs is very important," said Dr. Laurence Gardner, professor of medicine and executive dean for clinical affairs at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. "If I were really concerned about acquiring a cold or a respiratory infection, I would apply that to my hands every 30 minutes or when I used the bathroom or touched any other surface."

"Wash kids' hands often as well, and encourage them to use a tissue and sneeze or cough into their elbow," said Dr. Lisa Bernstein, associate professor of medicine at Emory University School of Medicine.

Of course handwashing doesn't only apply to sitting on airplanes. With a much greater volume of people and germs in stores and other places, disinfecting hands, shopping carts, seats is extremely important.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
Nov282011

Protect Yourself from the Germiest Spots at Malls

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- While the health hazards of increasingly competitive holiday shopping now include stampedes and pepper-spraying, bargain hunters can help assure that all they bring home from the mall are good deals, not other people's cold and flu viruses.

Shopping centers that teem with people also teem with their germs.  But alcohol-based hand sanitizers and good old-fashioned hand-washing can defeat most common microbes.

Before hitting the mall, it pays to plan how you'll deal with germy hot spots:

The Air

Hand sanitizers and hand-washing cannot protect you from what's floating in the air, said Dr. William Schaffner, the chairman of preventive medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tenn. "The great hazard is being that close to so many people and being in everyone's breathing space," he said.

"We live in a world that's not sterile, but what we'd like to do is be hygienic, so let's try to avoid the obvious coughers and sneezers in the crowd.  Go to another counter until they've passed," Schaffner advised. "If you are coughing and sneezing, put off your shopping a bit, which would be the kindest thing from a public health point of view."

Public Restrooms

Public restrooms can be a germ-laden nightmare, but they're also where you can wash away unwelcome microbes.  Although soap dispensers and faucet handles "can be a little nasty," after being touched by people who have just done their business in the stalls, you can wash your hands thoroughly, then grab a paper towel and quickly turn off the faucet with the towel, Schaffner said.

Food Court Tables

Think about how many people have touched the tables, napkin dispensers and chair backs at a mall food court or restaurant, and you have another reason to wash your own hands or use a hand sanitizer.  Just as kitchen sponges offer a warm, moist environment that lets food bacteria to multiply, the rags used to wipe down dirty tabletops are "a decent medium for bacteria to dwell in," said Dr. Jeffrey Boscamp, a pediatric infectious diseases specialist at Hackensack University Medical Center in New Jersey.

Escalator Handrails

Most people grip the handrails when riding escalators inside malls and stores, leaving behind normal skin bacteria plus other germs picked up from rubbing their noses or mouths.  Schaffner said he's not too worried about this particular hazard.

"If you use your hand sanitizer periodically during your afternoon safari at the mall, I think you'll be pretty well-protected," he said

Toy Stores

All those sniffling tots inside toy stores, along with the healthy ones who just like to put everything in their mouths, can leave invisible coatings of germs behind -- not to mention what they spew into the air when they sneeze or cough.

"The number of hygienic children in the United States I can count on the fingers of my hands," Schaffner said.  "I have to admit, children are the great disseminators of respiratory viruses.  They do so because, first of all, when a virus infects a child, the child actually breathes out a lot of virus, more so than adults.  They do so for a longer period of time."

Electronics Stores

The slick surfaces of smart phones and tablet computers can harbor a variety of germs, including staph, capable of living several hours.  However, just because environmental hygienists can swab such surfaces and find a variety of bacteria doesn't mean they necessarily will make you sick, said Schaffner.

"Try out your candidate iPhone, look at it, play with it, and then do you hand sanitizer thing," he said.

Some Surfaces Not to Worry About

Although women frequently hear they should avoid shared testers at makeup counters, "infections associated with shared makeup are virtually nonexistent," Schaffner said.  "They are not a recognized public health problem."

Worries about picking up germs from ATMs at the mall might be exaggerated, too, even if you've never see a bank employee wiping down ATM keys.

"If for some reason, you're a little queasy [about uncleaned keys], go the ATM, get your cash and use your hand sanitizer," Schaffner said.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
Oct102011

New Device Tests How Well Doctors, Nurses Wash Hands

Medioimages/Photodisc(ELMWOOD PARK, N.J.) -- Just how well do you wash your hands?  If you're a health care worker you may soon find out.

A new system that monitors how thoroughly doctors and nurses lather up is being tested in hospitals across the Midwest.

The VSS Vision Safety Solutions, created by Sealed Air Corporation, detects and records "when hand hygiene occurs; the duration of each hand washing event; and confirmation that each individual uses soap and/or sanitizer," the company said in a statement.

The system activates when a health care worker wearing a radio-frequency ID tag approaches a sink or sanitizing station.  A device then records if soap was used and the duration of the hand washing.

The new technology is being tested to help fight against the number of healthcare-associated infections that occur each year.  The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says about 100,000 people die annually from illnesses they acquire while staying at health care facilities.  These infections also cost the health care industry over $30 billion each year, according to the CDC.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Friday
Sep092011

Most Americans Are Washing Up After Using Public Restrooms

Michael Hevesy/The Image Bank(MENOMONEE FALLS, Wis.) -- Americans are becoming more conscientious when it comes to washing their hands after using a public restroom.  According to the third annual Healthy Hand Washing Survey, 90 percent of Americans said they wash after using a public restroom, up from 87 percent in 2009.  The online survey of 1,053 respondents was commissioned by Bradley Corporation of Menomonee Falls, a manufacturer of bathroom furnishings.

The survey also revealed that 89 percent of parents planned to talk to their kids about the importance of hand washing at school.

Bradley's third annual Healthy Hand Washing Survey also revealed:

-- 64 percent of Americans always wet their hands before adding soap.
-- 13 percent always wash their hands for a specific amount of time.
-- 26 percent use a towel, sleeve or other material to open the restroom door after washing their hands.
-- 11 percent admit they are a germaphobe and have a fear of germs or unsanitary surfaces.
-- Stall door handles, restroom entrance doors and faucet handles are the top three surfaces respondents dislike touching the most in a public restroom.
-- 26 percent prefer to stop at a fast food restaurant for a restroom break when taking a car trip. McDonald's was the fast foot outlet mentioned most frequently. Another 25 percent prefer a state rest area.
-- 91 percent of respondents say an unclean restroom gives them a negative perception of a business.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Sep082011

Survey: Most Americans Wash Hands after Using Public Restrooms

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(MILWAUKEE) -- Americans are becoming more conscientious when it comes to washing their hands after using public restrooms.  

According to the third annual Healthy Hand Washing Survey, 90 percent of Americans say they soap up after using a public restroom, up from 87 percent in 2009.  The online survey of 1,053 respondents was commissioned by Bradley Corporation of Menomonee Falls, a manufacturer of bathroom furnishings.

The survey also revealed that 89 percent of parents plan to talk to their kids about the importance of hand washing at school.

Among the survey's other findings:

  • 64 percent of Americans always wet their hands before adding soap.
  • 13 percent always wash their hands for a specific amount of time.
  • 26 percent use a towel, sleeve or other material to open the restroom door after washing their hands.
  • 11 percent admit they are a germaphobe and have a fear of germs or unsanitary surfaces.
  • Stall door handles, restroom entrance doors and faucet handles are the top three surfaces respondents dislike touching the most in a public restroom.
  • 26 percent prefer to stop at a fast food restaurant for a restroom break when taking a car trip.  McDonald's was the fast foot outlet mentioned most frequently.  Another 25 percent prefer a state rest area.
  • 91 percent of respondents say an unclean restroom gives them a negative perception of a business.

 

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Friday
Aug262011

Study: Frequent Handwashing Cuts Down on Missed School Days

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(COPENHAGEN, Denmark) -- "Wash your hands" has been mothers' battle cry for generations. But a new study, published in the American Journal of Infection Control, gives moms some added ammunition.

Keeping a child's hands clean may have an unanticipated benefit -- keeping that child in school.
 
Danish researchers recently looked at two groups of students, aged 5 to 15.  One group was required to disinfect their hands with an ethanol-based gel three times a day, while another was not asked to change their behavior -- though both groups received instruction on proper handwashing techniques.
 
During the three-month intervention, all school absences due to illness were recorded and the data analyzed. Those who regularly cleaned their hands had 26-percent fewer missed days and 22-percent fewer illness periods than those that did not.
 
A year later, researchers switched the groups along with their handwashing habits, and found missed days declined 34 percent for those now washing regularly. And for that first group, no longer required to clean up three times a day, there was no significant change in missed days -- perhaps suggesting that hand-hygiene programs might be habit-forming.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Nov042010

Hand Sanitizers Stop Working After Two Minutes, Specialists Say

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(DALLAS) -- The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that keeping the hands clean is one of the most effective ways that people can prevent sickness and the passing of germs to others.  Additionally, the CDC recommends using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer when soap and water is unavailable.

While 71 percent of the people that use hand sanitizers say they get peace of mind from using the soap and water substitute, infection prevention specialists say hand sanitizers may eliminate germs on contact, but the effects only last for about two minutes.

"This is a common misperception among consumers," said Lawton Seal, Ph.D., S.M., director of medical science for infection prevention at Healthpoint Ltd.  "People are unaware that they are vulnerable to germs almost immediately after they cleanse their hands with short-acting hand sanitizers."

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio