We've all been there. You're in a public restroom. You turn on the faucet. You give the soap dispenser a push, but get nothing in return. If you're lucky, you just move over to the next sink and find the liquid gold there. If you're unlucky, you're standing in a dirty public restroom with wet hands and no way to get them clean.
Unfortunately, water alone just doesn't cut it, despite what some people think. Seventy-four percent of American adults who use public restrooms would rinse their hands without water and let them air dry; if the restroom didn't have soap or towels, according to a LifeBridge Health survey. Just 12 percent said they would immediately go find another place to wash their hands. Six percent of men ages 18 to 34 said if there were no soap or paper towels, they would give themselves a "free pass" on hand washing. Ewww!
"To avoid getting sick, it's critical that people know how to wash their hands the right way," says Jackie Daley, director of Infection Prevention and Control at Sinai Hospital. "Many people think the water temperature kills the germs on their hands, but water from a faucet could never get hot enough to do that. The keys are the soap, length of scrubbing time and drying your hands thoroughly with towels afterwards."
With flu season upon us, and especially with the increased concern about H1N1, hand washing habits are improving. Nearly 8 out of 10 adults claim to wash more thoroughly now as a result of H1N1.