US college students ‘lax about washing their hands’

11th of November 2015
US college students ‘lax about washing their hands’

More than 50 per cent of students tested on a US college campus were found to have large amounts of different types of bacteria on their hands.

The aim of the study - carried out at the University of Findlay in Ohio - was to consider the link between hand hygiene and illness.

Study author Xu Lu and his team swabbed the hands of 224 student volunteers three times: before they washed their hands, after they washed their hands in their habitual way and after they had washed them according to Center for Disease Control guidelines.

The hands of 58 per cent of the volunteers were found to have been colonised by so many microbes at the start of the study that researchers were unable to make an accurate count. Overall, normal hand washing significantly decreased the amount of germs on students' hands - particularly when following the CDC procedure.

Around 25 per cent of the volunteers claimed to be already ill when the study began. Routine hand washing did not reduce the germ count on the hands of the unwell students. But when they washed their hands according to the CDC protocol, a significant improvement was noted.

Authors of the study claim college campuses are high-risk places for spreading infections since students live in close proximity to one another.

Lu and his team recommend that schools, teachers and parents should increase their efforts in educating students about proper hand washing, claiming that this could improve their health and reduce medical costs.



Our Partners

  • ISSA Interclean
  • EFCI
  • EU-nited