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Concern over the flu at highest level in 11 years, handwashing survey finds

Photo: AlexRaths/iStockphoto

Menomonee Falls, WI — Are you concerned about catching the flu? If so, you’re far from alone.

Results of a recent survey show that 3 out of 5 people in the United States are “extremely” or “quite” concerned about contracting the flu virus this year – the highest level over the past 11 years, according to Jon Dommisse, director of strategy and corporate development at Bradley Corp., which conducted the survey.

For its 11th annual Healthy Hand Washing Survey, the manufacturer of commercial restroom and emergency safety products asked more than 1,000 U.S. people about germs, colds, the flu and handwashing. The respondents represented four generations: Generation Z, millennials, Gen X and baby boomers.


Of the respondents, 80% said they wash their hands more frequently, thoroughly or longer when using a public bathroom.

Other findings:

  • 97% of respondents said it’s important to wash hands after using a public restroom, but only 86% reported doing so.
  • Baby boomers were the most likely (91%) to wash their hands after using a public restroom, while Gen Z was the least likely (82%).
  • 67% of respondents said they’ve skipped using soap and only rinsed their hands with water in public restrooms.
  • 64% correctly said using soap and water is more effective than using hand sanitizer to disinfect hands.
  • When respondents are sick, 48% avoid shaking hands with others.

“Thorough handwashing with soap and water remains the best way to reduce the spread of disease-causing microorganisms when caring for sick family members,” Michael P. McCann, medical microbiologist and professor of biology at Saint Joseph’s University, said in a Jan. 23 press release. “Soap and water, used as per the evidence-based recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control (and Prevention) and other government agencies, will help reduce the spread of flu and other illnesses in the home and workplace.”

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