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Survey Takes America’s Temperature During Flu Outbreak

Print Article Contributed by FSM Staff

MENOMONEE FALLS, WI -- According to the 2018 Healthy Hand Washing Survey, nearly 60 percent of Americans are extremely or quite concerned about contracting a new or particularly resilient strain of the flu this year.

The annual query of 1,035 adults conducted by Bradley Corporation was fielded Jan. 2-5 as states across the country were reporting growing numbers of flu cases.

While the flu is widespread, the survey reveals that Southerners are more worried about catching it than adults in the Northeast, Midwest or West. Thirty-four percent of those in southern states are extremely concerned compared to 23 percent who feel that way in the three other regions of the U.S.

According to medical experts, the best defense against sickness is to ramp up hand washing. Fortunately, Americans are heeding that advice. Sixty-one percent of respondents make it a point to suds up more frequently to avoid getting germs or passing them on to others.

“Hand washing with warm water and soap is a simple and effective way to reduce the risk of contracting viral infections like the flu or the common cold,” says medical microbiologist Michael P. McCann, Ph.D., professor of biology, Saint Joseph's University. “Getting the virus on your hands and then touching your eyes, nose or mouth is a common way people become infected so effective hand washing can reduce that risk.”

In addition to increased hand washing, the survey found Americans try to fend off colds and the flu by supporting their overall wellbeing. Fifty-three percent increase their fluid intake, 47 percent take vitamin C or a preventative supplement and 40 percent try to get more sleep.

On the home front, nearly 80 percent escalate their cleaning and sanitizing. If a family member is sick or a bug is going around, they proactively wipe down bathroom surfaces, wash sheets and/or towels and clean kitchen surfaces.
That’s a good practice since Dr. McCann says cold and flu viruses can persist on solid surfaces like sinks, countertops, doorknobs and phones for about a day.
The survey also found that, while 56 percent stay home when they’re sick, those who are ill change the way they greet people. Fity-one percent wave hello. Others simply avoid shaking hands and some utilize a fist bump or air kiss instead.

Hand Washing in Public Restrooms Declines
Unfortunately, when asked about their hand washing habits in public restrooms, just two-thirds of respondents say they “always” wash their hands after using a public restroom. Moreover, 38 percent report they “frequently” see others leave a public restroom without washing.

“These statistics point to an increasing number of people who aren’t cleaning their hands when they’re in public places,” says Jon Dommisse, director of strategy and corporate development for Bradley Corp. “No matter where you are – at home, at work or out-and-about – hand washing is a must, especially this time of year. Diligent washing with soap and water is a simple and effective way to remove sickness-causing germs and bacteria that we’re exposed to throughout the day.”

Bradley Corp., a manufacturer of commercial plumbing fixtures, washroom accessories, restroom partitions, emergency fixtures and solid plastic lockers, has executed the Healthy Hand Washing Survey for the past nine years.

The annual survey queried 1,035 American adults online Jan. 2-5, 2018, about their hand washing habits in public restrooms and concerns about germs, colds and the flu. Participants were from around the country, were 18 years and older, and were fairly evenly split between men and women (49 and 51 percent). 








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