The New York Post published an article about the CDC’s study of American hand hygiene habits earlier this month. The study compared hand washing practices before and after the COVID-19 pandemic among Americans, and the results were grim.
According to the CDC, “…Fewer than 75 percent of respondents reported remembering to wash their hands after having respiratory symptoms, before eating in a restaurant and before eating at home.”
This is especially troubling in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. Recent research has shown that SARS-CoV-2 can remain active on human skin for 9 hours, outliving the common influenza A virus, which can remain active for 2 hours. This makes hand washing imperative in the fight against the spread of the dangerous new disease.
Soap deactivates SARS-CoV-2 by dissolving its membrane and also washes away other deadly bacteria and germs from the skin.
According to the study, certain populations remember to wash their hands more often than others – such as older adults, women, and Hispanic and Black individuals. This trend held steady both in pre-pandemic and pandemic surveys. Younger people, men, and White adults were less likely to remember to wash their hands, putting themselves in greater risk of contracting infections, both before the COVID-19 pandemic and now.
Now, more than ever, hand hygiene protocols should be followed by everyone regardless of age, gender, or race. We have quite a few tips on how to achieve higher rates of hand hygiene compliance in the workplace and ensuring hand hygiene is practiced in schools.
The hand hygiene problem
It’s impossible to know who washed their hands and who is a carrier of microscopic germs and bacteria. Because of this hand hygiene is considered an “invisible” problem.
Often times, people wash their hands without paying attention to the action, without frothing the soap, spreading it out, and scrubbing at the skin like they should. This leads to more germs remaining on the skin compared to a thorough wash – so even those washing hands might not be doing it correctly.
The data this CDC study shows is dangerous and bleak. Although young, healthy adults can “bounce back” with a lower percentage of complications, other populations are not as lucky. The elderly, the immune compromised, children whose immune system is only just developing, chemo patients, and more – all depend on good hand hygiene practices to stay healthy and well.
Keeping our environment hygienic and safe is something that we must do as a society in order to protect those who are compromised even though we might not be. This is the kind of message we believe in here at Soapy.
An old saying says, “it takes a village to raise a child.” It is widely believed that children learn by example, and so an entire village shapes the child’s perception of life, of right and wrong, and of what practices are acceptable around them. Teaching children about the importance of hygiene starts with actually practicing it.
Soapy’s solution – the ECO Hygiene Micro-Station
The ECO Hygiene Micro-Station is Soapy’s answer to the lack of proper hand hygiene practiced in busy settings. The automatic hand wash machine dispenses the correct amount of soap and warm water needed for every wash, saving up to 95% of water and up to 60% of reagent. The micro-station scans the hands as you’re scrubbing them, displaying what hand washing techniques you should practice next, and ultimately scoring your wash cycle so that you know if it was effective or not. If you’d like to learn more about the ECO Hygiene Micro-Station, you can contact us here.