Friday, September 4, 2009

What They Say They Do and What They Actually Do

Hmmm, this sounds familiar. From a paper in this month's Journal of Environmental Health:
University Students' Hand Hygiene Practice During a Gastrointestinal Outbreak in Residence: What They Say They Do and What They Actually Do

During a 2006 norovirus outbreak at the University of Guelph in Canada researchers observed hand sanitation behavior in students. Hand sanitation stations and informational posters were stationed at the entrance to a residence hall cafeteria, where the potential for cross-contamination was high. The researchers observed that even during a high-profile outbreak, students followed recommended hand hygiene procedures just 17 percent of the time. In a self-reported survey after the outbreak had subsided, 83 of 100 students surveyed said they always followed proper hand hygiene but estimated that less than half of their peers did the same.

Hand washing is likely to reduce the chance that you will both contract influenza this winter and your chance of spreading it if you do contract it. There's no need to go all Howard Hughes but even a slight increase in hand washing rates could lead to significantly fewer sick people.

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