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Hand washing in public restrooms may be taking a downturn. Just 77% of men and women washed their hands in public restrooms during an observational study conducted earlier this year. Yet in a separate telephone survey, 92% of adults claimed they wash their hands in public restrooms, suggesting a gap between perception and reality.


Researchers observed the hand-washing practices of more than 6,000 adults in public restrooms in four cities and six locations, including New York's Grand Central Station and Turner Field in Atlanta, Ga. In a similar study conducted in 2005, 83% of people observed in the same locations washed up.


Sponsored by the American Society for Microbiology and the Soap and Detergent Association, the research was released during National Clean Hands Week in September. Spread the news to your patients: Proper hand hygiene helps prevent colds, influenza, and other infectious illnesses.