WEDNESDAY, Sept. 24 (HealthDay News) -- Fewer Americans are regularly washing their hands, even though it's one of the best ways to prevent colds and flu, says the fourth annual Soap and Detergent Association (SDA) Clean Hands Report Card.
"Americans should prepare for the onslaught of the cold and flu season. Cleaning your hands regularly throughout the day can help keep you out of the doctor's office or the emergency room," Nancy Bock, SDA's vice president of education, said in an SDA news release. The group has designated Sept. 21-27 as National Clean Hands Week to raise awareness of the need.
The report card, based on a national telephone survey of 916 people conducted in August, gives Americans a C-minus for their hand hygiene habits, the same score they had in 2006.
Here are some of the findings:
Teachers are one group that does understand the importance of hand washing, suggests a separate survey conducted during the 2008 National Education Association Expo in Washington, D.C., the SDA said. The survey of 230 teachers found that 97 percent knew that washing hands is the best way to prevent colds and flu, and 91 percent always or frequently clean their hands before eating lunch.
The SDA outlined how to wash hands to effectively remove germs:
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention outlines how to protect yourself against germs at home, school and work.
SOURCE: The Soap and Detergent Association, news release, Sept. 18, 2008