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Survey outlines barriers to handwashing in schools

In case you missed it, a recent WebMD article highlighted survey findings from the American Cleaning Institute showing that time constraints, supply shortages and untidy restrooms are among the top reasons why students say they don't wash their hands more often during the school day.

Completed by 512 children ages 8 to 17 and 521 parents, the online survey asked participants about their hand-washing habits and beliefs and was conducted in preparation for Global Handwashing Day, which occurs on Saturday. WebMD reports:

Although most children (89%) reported that they washed their hands after using the restroom at school, far fewer said that they wash their hands at other times during the school day. Nearly half said that the most common reason they failed to do so was because their school schedules did not allow them time.

For many students, the state of the schools’ toilets is a turn-off. Twenty-one percent of students surveyed said that they didn’t like using their school’s restrooms (15% found their school’s restrooms "disgusting") while another 19% said their school restrooms didn’t have the proper supplies. Forty-seven percent occasionally avoid the restrooms because they are dirty.

Peer pressure also apparently plays a role. Although 14% of the children surveyed said they don’t wash their hands because no one else does, 77% report that seeing their friends wash their hands reminds them to wash their own.

The survey results are a good reminder for us all to be more vigilant about our hand hygiene, particularly as the cold and flu season approaches.

Previously: Examining hand hygiene in the emergency department, Good advice from Washyourhandsington, Hey, health workers: Washing your hands is good for your patients, Clean hands save lives and Everything you ever wanted to know about hand hygiene
Photo by nicolasmary2

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