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Study: Just 5 Percent Of Bathroom Patrons Wash Hands Properly

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File photo of a person washing their hands. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

File photo of a person washing their hands. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

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ATLANTA (CBS Atlanta) – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta advise Americans to wash their hands properly after using the toilet, as well as after other activities that involve germ exposure, such as caring for those who are ill or handling garbage.

“Keeping hands clean through improved hand hygiene is one of the most important steps we can take to avoid getting sick and spreading germs to others,” CDC researchers stated on their official website. “Many diseases and conditions are spread by not washing hands with soap and clean, running water.”

A new study suggests that many are not heeding the CDC’s advice, however – only 5 percent of people are said to wash their hands long enough to effectively kill germs after using the bathroom.

The study, organized by researchers at Michigan State University, also found that 33 percent of people don’t use soap, and 10 percent don’t bother to wash their hands at all, according to the U.S. News & World Report.

“These findings were surprising to us because past research suggested that proper hand washing is occurring at a much higher rate,” lead investigator and associate professor of hospitality business Carl Borchgrevink was quoted as saying in a university news release originally obtained by HealthDay.

On the positive side, those involved in collecting data for the study noticed that people were more likely to wash their hands, and to do so more thoroughly, if a sign was present encouraging them to do so.

For the study, researchers reportedly observed over 3,700 people who had made use of a public restroom in an unnamed college town.

The study was published in the Journal of Environmental Health.

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