Dirty Habits of Londoners

Capital is one of the most unhygienic regions in the country

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National Hand Hygiene Awareness Week runs from Monday 26th October to 1st November 2009 and aims to educate people of the importance of cleaning their hands to prevent against germs and viruses this winter.


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Londoners don't wash their hands nearly enough according to results of a survey out today

87% of people living in in the capital claim they frequently see others leaving the toilet without washing their hands, and 58% don't bother washing their hands after using the tube, bus or train for commuting to and from work.

67% don't clean their hands after coughing or sneezing and less than half (46%) wash their hands before eating

The poll of 4,000 adults was carried out in conjunction with National Hand Hygiene Awareness Week.

Whilst London faired badly, York was hailed as the clean-hand capital - the longest they've left it to wash their hands with soap and water is under 19 hours.

The UK survey quizzed both men and women and revealed a number of worrying hand-cleaning habits, or lack of them, and a general unawareness of where they were coming in contact with germs throughout the day, such as:

The office water cooler is probably the worst offender of the lot with 2.7 million germs per square inch on the spout - The average desk work surface harbours over 20,000 microbes - that's 400 times more than on a toilet seat!

80% of all diseases are passed on by human contact - including viruses such as pneumonia and the common cold Out and about.

ATM keypads can lead to cross infection since MRSA, food poisoning bacteria staph aureus and even traces of faeces have been found on them.

Supermarket trolley handles are touched by thousands of people each day, yet they're rarely sanitised.

Fewer than half (46 per cent) scrub their hands clean before dinner and only a quarter do so after playing in the park with their kids. More than four in 10 blokes don't even clean their mitts after car maintenance or DIY.

The research found over half (51 per cent) have avoided shaking hands with someone because of their dirty hands. And the same number have knowingly greeted someone when their own hands aren't 100 per cent clean.

A disturbing three in 10 men admit they NEVER wash their hands after going to the toilet, claiming they don't touch anything dirty.

A quarter of Brits don't even wash their hands after using the toilet at home, and one in five have the mentality if their hands don't look dirty, then they're probably not.

The most common germs found on the handles are saliva and faecal matter - Swabs taken from tube and bus seats in London found that they contained on average three million bacteria of up to 70 different types, including tuberculosis

Professor Lindsey Davies, National Director of Pandemic Flu Preparedness at the Department of Health said:

"Helping to stop the spread of flu is easy - covering your nose and mouth with tissues when you cough and sneeze, throwing the tissue away and cleaning your hands really helps prevent the virus spreading. The message is simple - CATCH IT, BIN IT, KILL IT."


October 26th 2009