Date
21 August 2017
Washing your hands after toilet use is best and cheapest way to prevent infection. Photo: WoodleyWonderWorks/Flickr
Washing your hands after toilet use is best and cheapest way to prevent infection. Photo: WoodleyWonderWorks/Flickr

Do you wash your hands after using the toilet?

Most people will deny they sometimes don’t wash their hands after using the toilet. They always do — when other people are in the toilet and will know if they don’t.

But here’s the lowdown: an alarming 6 percent of Hong Kong people do not always wash their hands after using the toilet, according to a press release on government website. It’s even higher for men at 9 percent.

The survey was conducted by the Department of Health’s Centre for Health Protection (CHP) in January and February this year. There were around 2,000 respondents.

The average time the respondents spend washing their hands is 10 seconds, which is only half of the time recommended by the World Health Organization.

The Department of Health warned that one gram of faeces contains one trillion bacteria, and called for members of the community to wash hands with soap after using the toilet.

The survey also showed that the problem of not washing the hands is more common among males, especially those who are single and those at work. 

Some 36 percent of the male respondents do not always wash their hands after handling rubbish, while the percentage for females is 24 percent.

Only 57 percent of the respondents always cover their mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing, down from 64 percent in a similar survey in 2005. People who always wash their hands after handling rubbish dropped from 75 percent in 2005 to 70 percent this year.

Dr. Andrew Wong, head of the CHP Infection Control Branch, stressed that maintaining good hand hygiene is one of the most effective, simple and cost-effective methods of preventing infection, the survey said.

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EL/AC/CG

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