The "Cleanest Hands in
National Clean Hands Week was started in 2004 to bring attention to the importance of proper hand hygiene and to spread the message that "clean hands save lives." According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), proper hand-washing is the single most important thing individuals can do to keep from getting sick and spreading illness to others.
"We conducted the survey because we believe it's vital to raise awareness about the importance of good hand hygiene," said Chris Sommer, brand manager, Dial bar and liquid hand soap. "We hope the survey results compel everyone to take notice of their hand-washing habits and realize that keeping your hands clean is the best way to avoid getting sick and spreading illness."
The Survey Findings
To determine the region with the "Cleanest Hands in America," a random sample of individuals in each region answered an 11-question, Web-based survey instrument (hosted on a secure server and available only to those respondents randomly selected to take part in the online survey) dealing with a variety of hand hygiene topics. The questions were developed from information obtained from the CDC Web site.
Following is the ranking of the top 25 cities (from practicing the best to worst hand hygiene)*:
10. San Francisco
15. Washington, DC
17. New York
22. St. Louis
24. Portland, Ore.
The complete "Cleanest Hands in America" survey report is available at www.dialcomplete.com.
"From the results we tabulated, it seems individuals understand the importance of always, regularly and correctly washing their hands," said John Zogby, president and CEO of Zogby International, which conducted the survey. "But the more detailed the questions became in regards to certain situations such as washing after touching an animal or soiled public surfaces the percentage of individuals who always wash their hands became less."
Of the 11 questions asked, findings related to two of the questions strongly reflect Zogby's analysis. First survey respondents were asked, "How often do you wash your hands after blowing your nose?" The average response for this question was that only 19 percent of individuals in the U.S. top 25 markets always wash their hands after blowing their nose, while 31 percent answered mostly, 40 percent sometimes and nine percent never. Miami scored the highest with 30 percent of the respondents answering always, while San Francisco registered the lowest percentage 13. The CDC recommends that people promptly wash their hands after blowing their nose.
Secondly, responses to the question, "How often do you wash your hands after taking out the garbage?" were attention getting. The average response of survey participants was that only 45 percent of individuals always, 20 percent mostly, 24 percent sometimes and 9 percent never wash their hands after taking out the trash. Once again, Miami ranked No. 1 as 49 percent of individuals surveyed answered they always wash their hands after taking out the garbage. Denver scored the lowest, with only 30 percent of respondents washing their hands after garbage detail.
"Taking out the trash doesn't mean you're throwing out the germs. Make sure you clean your hands after you empty the garbage," said Nancy Bock, vice president of education at The Soap and Detergent Association (SDA). "If you don't wash your hands after touching the garbage can, you open yourself up to possible cross-contamination, which can result in you and your loved ones getting sick."