Only half of Irish people spend recommended 20 seconds washing their hands

By Ailbhe Daly

Only half of Irish people spend the recommended 20 seconds washing their hands each time to help stave off Covid-19, a shock new study shows.

The survey was conducted to measure the hand hygiene habits of the Irish public in the lead up to Global Handwashing Day on Friday.

The survey showed that while hand hygiene has improved dramatically in Ireland since the onset of the pandemic, only 50% of people are washing them for the requisite amount of time.

However, up to 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 sanitiser has increased since the beginning of the pandemic, but with 85% of them saying they would continue to use hand sanitiser to the same degree in the future.

Female respondents displayed better hand hygiene habits than men in their responses.

Up to 81% of female respondents reported washing their hands before every meal, as opposed to 75% of male respondents.

Meanwhile, up to 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 on Friday.

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.”


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