Keep Calm and Wash Your Hands!
McLain, Kimberly, Dr.
Hand washing , College campuses , Hygiene
According to the CDC up to 80% of diseases/transmission of diseases can be prevented by proper hand hygiene following guidelines approved by the CDC. The present study was undertaken by students from a Medical Assisting program who conducted an observational study to assess the level of awareness about and actual performance of proper hand hygiene on a college campus. A total of 156 participants (53% female, 44% male) were randomly recruited to participate in a handwashing challenge on a community college campus. Participants were offered the incentive of entering a raffle to win one of three Fitbits. The challenge was open to all students, faculty, and staff of the college. Ninety-one percent of participants were students ranging in age from 16-69 years with 84% of participants in the 16-29 year age range. Participants were asked to complete a short survey assessing hand hygiene knowledge and their behaviors and observations involving hand washing practices. Glo Germ, which simulates pathogens, was applied to subjects' hands which were then observed under a black light to inidicate the presence of "germs". Participants were then asked to wash their hands as they normally would and return to demonstrate the effectiveness of their hand hygiene by again placing their hands under the black light. Areas missed during hand washing glowed under the black light. A grading system was utilized to measure the percentage of hand washing effectiveness. Subjects were then educated about their hand washing effectiveness and provided with educational material about proper hand hygiene and flu prevention. Preliminary data indicate that 79% of participants reported consistently washing their hands after using the restroom, while 34% of study participants reported they consistently observe others on campus not wash hands prior to leaving the restroom. Only 20% and 27% of students, respectively, correctly identified the appropriate length of time to wash hands and the proper percentage of alcohol needed to be effective in hand sanitizers. Forty-six percent correctly identified the proper length of time to rub hands together after applying hand sanitizer. Additional data is currently being analyzed.