Only 50% of Singaporeans wash their hands thoroughly after using the restroom: Survey

PHOTO: Only 50% of Singaporeans wash their hands thoroughly after using the restroom: Survey

SINGAPORE - According to Dettol's latest survey, only 50 per cent of the 500 respondents surveyed in Singapore said they wash their hands thoroughly with water and soap before eating and after using the restroom.

The other 50 per cent of the respondents, aged between 20 and 65 years old, said they either wash their hands briefly or not at all. Furthermore, only one in four Singaporeans carry a bottle of sanitiser to keep their hands clean, with women being more likely to do so as compared to men.

The survey was commissioned by Dettol to better understand the hygiene habits of Singaporeans and how they can protect themselves and their loved ones from falling ill.

It was found that Singaporeans who fall ill during the year-end festive season commonly fall prey to the seasonal flu, respiratory illness or illnesses related to contamination, particularly where they frequent mass gathering occasions.

Of those that fall ill, 70 per cent were most likely to catch the seasonal flu, and 68 per cent of them expressed a high tendency to develop respiratory illnesses like the common cold, cough and sore throat.

In addition, 42 per cent reportedly suffer from cross-contamination related illnesses. The survey also highlighted that 50 per cent of the respondents do not realise that these infectious diseases are easily contracted through poor personal hygiene.

The majority said they believe infectious diseases are spread through people who are infected, inconsiderate and unhygienic, communal facilities, germ hotspots and high-touch points, for instance, door handles and table surfaces.

To improve hygiene levels in Singapore, 64 per cent of the respondents said they are supportive of the idea to provide sanitisers in public areas, and 60 per cent proposed to have harsher penalties for litterbugs and hawkers who fall below the hygiene standards.

"Mass gatherings provide an ideal forum for opportunistic microbes to spread across many people and we know only too well the consequences of global disease spreading. We have seen outbreaks of influenza such as H1N1, SARS, norovirus and the common cold through person-to-person or surface-to-person contact. H1N1 was circulating during World Youth Day in 2008, SARS was a threat during the Hajj in 2003 and the Asiatic cholera pandemic was sparked by the Kumbh Mela Hindu pilgrimage," said Professor John Oxford, the Chairman of Global Hygiene Council.

According to the GHC, good hygiene practices play a significant role in preventing the spread of infectious diseases. To minimise the chances of contracting or spreading infectious diseases, the council advised members of the public to practice good personal hygiene.

For example, hand-washing with soap and water or the use of hand sanitiser when soap and water is not available.

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