Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

To Get College Students To Wash Hands Requires Proper Tools, Attention-getting Tactics

Date:
September 8, 2009
Source:
Kansas State University
Summary:
Researchers observed that even during a high-profile norovirus outbreak, students followed recommended hand hygiene procedures just 17 percent of the time. In a self-reported survey after the outbreak had subsided, 83 of 100 students surveyed said they always followed proper hand hygiene but estimated that less than half of their peers did the same.

Although many students say they routinely wash their hands, many simply don't, even in outbreaks of diseases such as H1N1, experts say.
Credit: iStockphoto

The path to poor hand sanitation is paved with good intentions, according to researchers from Kansas State and North Carolina State universities.

As college campuses prepare for an expected increase in H1N1 flu this fall, the researchers said students' actions will speak louder than words.

"Many students say they routinely wash their hands," said Douglas Powell, an associate professor of food safety at Kansas State University. "But even in an outbreak situation, many students simply don't."

In February 2006, Powell and two colleagues -- Ben Chapman, an assistant professor at North Carolina State University, and research assistant Brae Surgeoner -- observed hand sanitation behavior during an outbreak. What was thought to have been norovirus sickened nearly 340 students at the University of Guelph in Canada.

Hand sanitation stations and informational posters were stationed at the entrance to a residence hall cafeteria, where the potential for cross-contamination was high. The researchers observed that even during a high-profile outbreak, students followed recommended hand hygiene procedures just 17 percent of the time. In a self-reported survey after the outbreak had subsided, 83 of 100 students surveyed said they always followed proper hand hygiene but estimated that less than half of their peers did the same.

The results appear in the September issue of the Journal of Environmental Health.

Powell said that in addition to providing the basic tools for hand washing – vigorous running water, soap and paper towels -- college students, especially those living in residence halls, need a variety of messages and media continually encouraging them to practice good hand hygiene.

"Telling people to wash their hands or posting signs that say, 'Wash your hands' isn’t enough," said Chapman. "Public health officials need to be creative with their communication methods and messages."

Most students surveyed perceived at least one barrier to following recommended hand hygiene procedures. More than 90 percent cited the lack of soap, paper towels or hand sanitizer. Additional perceived barriers were the notion that hand washing causes irritation and dryness, along with just being lazy and forgetful about hand washing. Fewer than 7 percent said a lack of knowledge of the recommended hand hygiene procedures was a barrier.

"Providing more facts is not going to get students to wash their hands," Powell said. "Compelling messages using a variety of media – text messages, Facebook and traditional posters with surprising images -- may increase hand washing rates and ultimately lead to fewer sick people."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Kansas State University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Kansas State University. "To Get College Students To Wash Hands Requires Proper Tools, Attention-getting Tactics." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 8 September 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/09/090904165248.htm>.
Kansas State University. (2009, September 8). To Get College Students To Wash Hands Requires Proper Tools, Attention-getting Tactics. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/09/090904165248.htm
Kansas State University. "To Get College Students To Wash Hands Requires Proper Tools, Attention-getting Tactics." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/09/090904165248.htm (accessed September 1, 2014).

Share This




More Science & Society News

Monday, September 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Get on Your Bike! London Cycling Popularity Soars Despite Danger

Get on Your Bike! London Cycling Popularity Soars Despite Danger

AFP (Sep. 1, 2014) Wedged between buses, lorries and cars, cycling in London isn't for the faint hearted. Nevertheless the number of people choosing to bike in the British capital has doubled over the past 15 years. Duration: 02:27 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Thailand Totters Towards Waste Crisis

Thailand Totters Towards Waste Crisis

AFP (Sep. 1, 2014) Fears are mounting in Bangkok that poor planning and lax law enforcement are tipping Thailand towards a waste crisis. Duration: 01:21 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
California Passes 'yes-Means-Yes' Campus Sexual Assault Bill

California Passes 'yes-Means-Yes' Campus Sexual Assault Bill

Reuters - US Online Video (Aug. 30, 2014) California lawmakers pass a bill requiring universities to adopt "affirmative consent" language in their definitions of consensual sex, part of a nationwide drive to curb sexual assault on campuses. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
As Drought Continues LA "water Police" Fight Waste

As Drought Continues LA "water Police" Fight Waste

AFP (Aug. 29, 2014) In the midst of a historic drought, Los Angeles is increasing efforts to go after people who waste water. Five water conservation "cops" drive around the city every day educating homeowners about the drought. Duration: 02:17 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins