Our Dirty Little Secrets
Ninety-one percent of Americans say they wash their hands after using a public toilet, but an observational study conducted in the six US airports found that only 26 percent of men and 17 percent of women actually did. And here’s something to ponder before you shake someone’s hand during cold and flu season: A recent survey also found that only 24 percent of men and 39 percent of women always wash their hands after they cough or sneeze.
Hand hygiene among doctors is even worse, with 73 percent of pediatric ICU physicians claiming that they soaped up between patients, but when the MDs were secretly observed, only 10 percent actually washed. If doctors and nurses were more diligent about hand hygiene, up to 80,000 Americans lives would be saved each year.
Experts caution patients to ask healthcare providers a simple question before any hands-on exam: “Did you wash your hands?” That’s important even if the provider is wearing gloves, reports Texas Health Resources Infection Control.