Only 44% Indians have clean hands


Indians’ hand-washing habits may not be up to sniffles, but Canadians have the cleanest hands, a hygiene survey.

While 90% of people surveyed in Canada feel that washing hands regularly is good protection against catching flu, only 44% of Indians believe the same, says an international survey, conducted by Global Hygiene Council supported by Dettol, in 2008.

Ideas of hygiene and health vary from country to country, and in India, food also comes into play: 20% of Indians believe that avoiding eating meat can keep the flu away, while other countries, especially Australia and South Africa, do not believe it at all.

The survey – which also covers South Africa, Malaysia, Italy, Great Britian, Australia and USA – revealed some interesting nuggets on people’s perceptions. The questions, on measures to prevent flu and washing hands, were posed to 1,000 respondents.

Cross-country

Even as 58% of people in Italy believe that avoiding public places is another preventive measure to prevent the flu, only 12% of Indians agree. While 71% of Malaysians believe a rubbish bin poses the greatest risk of transmitting germs to a person or child, 16% of Indians think the bin poses the greatest risk, while 44% Indians think the toilet seat is a risk best not taken.

Though 27% of Indians wash their hands for a minute after using the toilet, in Italy, 28% do so. However, 41% of people in South Africa wash their hands after using toilets, but only for five seconds.

Kiddy habits

When it comes to children washing their hands before eating, 79% of Indian kids obediently do so, while only 29% of Australians do, and 80% of Malaysians wash up before eating.

The survey says 45% Indian parents believe in asking their children to wash hands as they come home from school or nursery, to prevent them from picking up germs and becoming ill.

The importance of teaching children good hygiene habits was highlighted by the survey, which revealed that 50% of Indians do not wash their hands after coughing or sneezing, thus pushing up chances of picking up germs from each other. When someone coughs or sneezes, millions of germs can be expelled into the air, so it’s important that children understand the ways to protect themselves and their classmates from illness.

Suggestions

* Leftover food in lunch boxes should be discarded, and the box thoroughly cleaned. Crumbs in school bags can spread salmonella and cause gastrointestinal upsets

* Kids should be taught to clean even hard-to-reach areas like between the fingers, around the nails and even thumbs. They should know that just because they can’t see dirt on their hands, it doesn’t mean there are no germs

* When kids cough or sneeze, they should use tissue and dispose it in a bin. If they don’t have a tissue, teach them to cough or sneeze into the crook of their arm rather than into their hands – this way, bacteria and viruses aren’t transferred to their hands, and then on to the surfaces they touch, and on to other children

Top 5 illnesses picked up at school

Common cold
Stomach flu (viral gastroenteritis)
Ear infection
Conjunctivitis
Sore throat

INDIAN SOAP OPERA

12% believe avoiding public places prevents contracting flu
44% wash hands use regular soap
32% prefer anti-bacterial soap
3% use sanitizer
11% only running water

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