The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic is still actively spreading in many countries, including the United States. There is currently no approved treatment or vaccination against the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), which causes COVID-19. However, effective infection control measures like social distancing, properly wearing masks, and regular hand washing can help contain the spread.
Now the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released a new report looking to see if Americans wash their hands in the face of the threat of the coronavirus pandemic.
The study shows that Americans wash their hands much more frequently than they did before the coronavirus pandemic. The groups less likely to have multiple reminders to wash their hands were whites, men, and those between the ages of 18 and 24.
Hand hygiene is an essential measure to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and other infections. Public health efforts should promote regular hand hygiene for all as it prevents infection and promotes proper personal hygiene.
Amid the coronavirus pandemic, governments and health experts around the world recommend that people should always wash their hands if they have difficulty breathing, if they touch frequently touched surfaces, before and after eating and after using the bathroom.
Previous studies have shown that adults around the world have moderate to high levels of self-washed hand washing during the pandemic. However, little information is known about how American hand washing behavior has changed since the emergence of COVID-19 in the country.
In the study, between October 2019 and June 2020, the researchers collected data on how adults remember to wash their hands in six situations – after using the bathroom at home, after using the bathroom in public, after coughing, sneezing or nasal blisters. before eating at home, before eating in a restaurant, and before preparing food at home.
The team received data from over 7,600 respondents. A total of 3,624 participants took part in the ConsumerStyles survey between October 8 and 22, 2019, and around 4,053 respondents took part in the survey between June 10 and 25, 2020.
In addition to hand washing behavior, the researchers also collected data on demographic characteristics, annual household income, household size, employment status and perceived health status.
Higher hand wash
The team saw a significant increase in reported handwashes in June 2020 during the pandemic, compared to October 2019 in four out of six situations. In addition, adults were 2.3 times more likely to remember washing their hands after coughing, sneezing or nasal blisters, twice more often before eating in a restaurant and 1.7 times more often before eating at home.
However, the team also found that men, young adults between 18 and 24 years old, and white adults are less likely to think about washing their hands in multiple situations.
The results of the study show the importance of promoting proper hand hygiene, especially in groups that report a low prevalence of hand washing reminders. Respondents also said they washed their hands frequently in 2019 and 2020 before preparing food at home, after using the bathroom at home, and after using a public bathroom. However, the less common reports recall washing hands in 2019 in situations such as before eating at home, before eating at a restaurant, and after coughing, sneezing or nasal blisters, and all of this improved in 2020 during the pandemic . In these situations, adults were more likely to wash their hands to prevent COVID-19 infection.
“Public health efforts should encourage frequent hand washing for all, taking care to tailor the news to men, young adults and non-Hispanic white adults. Particular attention should be paid to promoting hand washing at important times, e.g. B. before eating and after the onset of respiratory problems, ”the researchers wrote in the article.
The CDC recommends infection control measures to prevent the spread of SARS-CoV-2, which has now infected more than 7.60 million people and killed over 212,000 people in the United States. Globally, the number of cases has exceeded 36.44 million and the death toll has reached well over 1 million.
The CDC reports that the best way to prevent disease is to avoid exposure to the virus. It urged people to wash their hands frequently, avoid close contact with other people, cover their mouth and nose with a mask, cover their mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing, and disinfecting contaminated surfaces.