Here's a matter you don't want to wash your hands of: according to new research from Michigan State University, only 5 percent of people who use public bathrooms wash their hands long enough to kill the germs that can cause infections. What’s more, 33 percent don’t use soap and 10 percent don’t wash their hands at all. The study found that men were particularly neglectful.
The main things researchers noted were that:
- Fifteen percent of men didn’t wash their hands at all, compared with 7 percent of women.
- When they did wash their hands, only 50 percent of men used soap, compared with 78 percent of women.
- People were less likely to wash their hands if the sink was dirty.
- Hand washing was more prevalent earlier in the day. Researchers theorize that this is because people out at night for a meal or drinks are in a relaxed frame of mind, with hand washing seeming less important.
- People were more likely to wash their hands if a sign encouraging them to do so was present.
The report, based on observations of 3,749 people in public restrooms, appears in the Journal of Environmental Health. For the study, specially trained college students observed hand washing in public restrooms in bars, restaurants and other establishments. These student researchers were reportedly as unobtrusive as possible, immediately entering their observations on smart phones.
So, wash those hands! If only because you never know who may be watching.
Remember Mom's advice about washing your hands thoroughly after using the restroom?