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Handwashing on the increase prior to coronavirus, says survey

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The coronavirus pandemic may have helped increase the number of people washing their hands more frequently, reports Bradley Corp., Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin, in its annual Healthy Hand Washing survey. In January the company polled 1,005 adults and youth about germs, the flu, colds and handwashing habits.

In 2009, when the H1N1 virus was infecting people around the world, only about 45 per cent of Americans said they washed their hands more frequently or thoroughly in response to the flu virus outbreak. By 2019, the number of flu-fighting hand washers in the U.S. rose to 79 per cent.

This year, the concern about hand hygiene has increased. Today, 60 per cent of Americans are extremely or quite concerned about catching the flu, compared to just 32 per cent who felt that way four years prior.

When the national or international focus shifts towards outbreaks, it has an effect on hand hygiene, with 50 per cent of Americans saying that news coverage of cold and flu outbreaks has a “very large” or “somewhat large” impact on their handwashing behaviour. Women and their handwashing habits are most likely to be impacted by news coverage.

“The steady rise in hand washing diligence in America may, in part, stem from several stand-out flu seasons over the past decade – particularly flu outbreaks in 2009, 2015 and 2018,” said Jon Dommisse, Bradley Corp. director of strategy and corporate development. “Now, the unprecedented spread of coronavirus has placed an even more intense spotlight on the critical nature of thorough handwashing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.”

The survey began 11 years ago and from the findings, it showed that handwashing signage, clean and stocked washrooms, and touchless handwashing fixtures encouraged hand washing in public washrooms.

“Handwashing in America has undoubtedly improved over the past 11 years but coronavirus is a real handwashing game-changer,” Dommisse said. “We must all remember that hand washing is among the most important actions to protect our loved ones, our communities and ourselves.”

For more information, please visit www.bradleycorp.com/handwashing.

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