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Who's washing now?


(HealthDay News) -- Who washes their hands in public restrooms? Women more often than men, it seems.

Researchers recorded the hand-washing habits of 6,028 adults in public restrooms this past August. Observations were made at six venues -- Turner Field in Atlanta, the Museum of Science and Industry and the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago, Grand Central Station and Penn Station in New York City, and the Ferry Terminal Farmers Market in San Francisco.

Results of the research, sponsored by the American Society for Microbiology and the American Cleaning Institute, included:

  • About 77 percent of men washed their hands, compared with 93 percent of women.
  • Hand-washing rates were better in Chicago and San Francisco, where 89 percent of people observed washed their hands, than in Atlanta (82 percent) or New York City (79 percent).

In a separate telephone survey, the researchers queried 1,006 people in early August about their hand-washing habits. The percentage of people who said they always washed their hands after a particular task included:

  • After using the bathroom at home, 89 percent.
  • After changing a diaper, 82 percent.
  • Before handling or eating food, 77 percent.
  • After coughing or sneezing, 39 percent.

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