Blind spots: Lion Corp survey finds gap between awareness and practice of hand washing

By Amanda Lim

- Last updated on GMT

A new survey has revealed ‘blind spots’ in handwashing behaviour. [Getty Images]
A new survey has revealed ‘blind spots’ in handwashing behaviour. [Getty Images]

Related tags Hygiene hand care

A new survey conducted by Japanese personal care company Lion Corporation has revealed ‘blind spots’ in handwashing behaviour.

Lion Corp is the maker of personal care brands such as Kirei Kirei and Shokubutsu as well as oral care brands Systema and Kodomo.

In November 2021, the consumer goods company conducted a survey through an online questionnaire on hand hygiene habits, which involved 600 Japanese men and women aged 18 to 69.

It was conducted to assess hygiene habits including frequent hand washing and hand sanitising, which became de rigueur in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

It found that after over two years of living with the COVID-19 virus, more than 60% of respondents had established a habit of frequent hand washing and now see it as an important habit that can counter against infectious diseases.

According to the survey, 62% said they were continuing to frequently wash their hands and 63% said they would continue to keep up the habit once the pandemic ends.

In contrast, more than half (53%) of respondents have said were continuing to use hand sanitisers frequently, but only 36% said they would continue to do so post-pandemic.

“From this, it can be observed that the importance of frequent hand washing as a countermeasure against infectious diseases has permeated and the habit has taken root,” ​noted the report.

Inadequate techniques

The company also conducted an observational study of handwashing behaviour.

From May to June 2021, researchers observed 10 children aged four to seven and 10 adult women in their 30s to 50s.

Using multiple video recordings, researchers observed the way the subjects washed their hands when they returned home.

They found that more than half of children and adults washed the palms and back of the hands.

However, they mostly neglected to wash other areas, including the fingertips, between fingers and wrists.

Researchers noted that even with diligent hand washing, neglecting certain areas, like the fingertips which often come into contact with the surface of objects, result in ineffective infection control measures.

From this observational experiment, researchers believed that although the habit of washing hands frequently has been established among people, there are still some inadequacies in practice.

They concluded that there was a gap between the awareness of handwashing and the practice of adequate handwashing techniques.

In a previous study conducted in July 2021, the company found that 90% of respondents said they washed their hands immediately after returning home.

However, when observed, researchers found that most did not practice this. Instead, they would move to various rooms and interact with various objects, such as doorknobs and table surfaces, and spread any viruses.

Using an AI-powered simulation model, the team found that washing hands immediately after returning home could reduce the spread of viruses to 30%, making it imperative for people to wash their hands immediately after returning home.

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