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Global Handwashing Day: Study reveals only one in five wash their hands to protect others

Around three quarters of us are washing our hands more frequently than we previously did as a result of Covid-19, according to an Essity study.

But nearly 80 per cent of us are doing so only to protect ourselves – and not others – from the virus.

This emerged in a global study by Tork manufacturer Essity carried out to coincide with today’s Global Handwashing Day (15 October).

Two out of three respondents in a poll of more than 10,000 people claim to have stepped up their hand-washing frequency since the start of the pandemic, with 78 per cent now routinely washing their hands after visiting a public place.

However, only 38 per cent said they washed their hands before visiting a public place, indicating that most people are more concerned about picking up the virus outside the home than they are about contaminating the places they visit. And this was confirmed by the fact that 77 per cent of respondents claimed the chief reason they washed their hands was to protect themselves, not others, from virus transmission.

“Despite a high level of solidarity with frontline workers during this pandemic, our survey results indicate that we could be doing more when it comes to washing our hands for others,” said Essity Global Brand Innovation Manager Carolyn Berland.

“Hand hygiene is a crucial tool in our efforts to maintain healthy communities. I hope we continue with our increased frequency of hand hygiene throughout the pandemic and afterwards.”

This year’s Global Handwashing Day takes the theme “Hand Hygiene for All” and Berland has launched a new Tork podcast discussing the importance of good hand hygiene routines and of using soap rather than sanitisers.

According to Essity Vice President Marketing Alberto Cajiga, good communication is crucial in terms of preventing contamination.

“We would like to inspire everyone – from business owners to employees and from students to parents – to wash their hands not only to protect themselves, but also to help others to feel secure and stay healthy,” he said.

Tork has recently launched a new ‘Secure the new hygiene standard’ website which offers a free downloadable Back to Business Toolkit to help companies keep customers safe when reopening.

The Back to Business Toolkit can be downloaded at www.tork.co.uk/safeatwork.

Carolyn Berland’s The Power of Hands podcast can be accessed here.

About Sarah OBeirne

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