Only half of Irish people spend the recommended 20 seconds washing their hands each time, a new survey has found.
Ireland’s leading expert in commercial hygiene, conducted the survey which showed that 85% of respondents have made efforts to improve their hand hygiene habits since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The survey was conducted to measure the hand hygiene habits of the Irish public in the lead up to Global Handwashing Day (15th October).
91% of respondents also said they believe they would continue to maintain their improved hand hygiene standards into the future and two thirds of respondents said their preferred handwashing method is using warm water and soap. Less than 10% reported not using soap as their preferred method of handwashing.
Unsurprisingly, 96% of respondents said their use of hand sanitizer has increased since the beginning of the pandemic, but with 85% of them saying they would continue to use hand sanitizer to the same degree in the future.
Female respondents displayed better hand hygiene habits than men in their responses. 81% of female respondents reported washing their hands before every meal, as opposed to 75% of male respondents. 72% of females reported washing their hands more than six times a day, as opposed to 58% of males. 72% of females and just 61% of males also referenced using warm water with soap as their preferred handwashing method.
95% of females reported that their hand hygiene habits had improved since the onset of the pandemic, as opposed to 79% of male respondents.
Initial Hygiene is also calling on Irish businesses and organisations to ensure good hygiene and handwashing habits are being implemented in the workplace ahead of Global Handwashing Day, which is on Friday 15th October.
Global Handwashing Day is an annual global advocacy day which was founded by the Global Handwashing Partnership and is dedicated to advocating for handwashing with soap as an easy, effective, and affordable way to prevent diseases and save lives. The 2021 Global Handwashing Day theme is ‘Our Future is at Hand – Let’s Move Forward Together.’
Initial Hygiene’s advice for handwashing, which is aligned with advice from the World Health Organisation, includes:
• Clean your hands regularly
• Always use soap and warm water when washing your hands
• Use alcohol-based hand rub if you don’t have immediate access to soap and water
• Always spend over 20 seconds minimum when washing your hands, to ensure they’re cleaned thoroughly
• Wash thoroughly, ensuring that every part of the hand is included
• Dry thoroughly with a clean single use towel afterwards
Richard Faulkner, Advanced Technical Field Consultant with Initial Hygiene, said: “This survey shows the great degree to which hand hygiene habits have improved since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. However, it also shows that there are still areas that can be improved. To coincide with Global Handwashing Day, Initial Hygiene is calling on all Irish businesses to ensure that their employees are aware of proper hand hygiene and handwashing procedures, to ensure a hygienic and safe workspace for everyone.”