In this new norm we live in, handwashing (along with staying six feet apart from people and staying home), is the best weapon against this novel Covid-19 virus, a pandemic being felt all over the globe.
With that said, when it comes to the battle of the sexes … who washes their hands better? Past research has indicated that women are likelier to use soap while washing hands and scrub for longer periods of time, versus men.
Believe it or not, CNN reported that a study was recently launched by the Michigan State University’s School of Hospitality. As most people are likely to lie about handwashing, especially after using the bathroom, the team had 12 research assistants “linger” in four different restrooms around the school campus, recording handwashing data for just over 3,700 male and female students.
The results of the study were rather interesting. Approximately 15 percent of males didn’t wash their hands after using the restroom, versus 7 percent of females who didn’t. When the men did wash, only half of them used soap, while 78 percent of women ensured to use soap. Interestingly enough, gender aside, only five percent of all participants observed who washed their hands after using the restroom, washed long enough to kill any germs that can turn into infections.
Another 2016 research project reviewed dozens of studies from different countries and revealed that females were 50 percent likelier than males to partake in, or increase, protective (virus) measures like mask-wearing, surface cleaning, and hand washing.
But, why such a gender gap in all of this? Some experts believe that it has to do with the fact that females are more focused on care – as it relates to taking care of the kids, household, and personal care.
Some experts chirp that men may feel “too macho” for germs. They have a sense of “invincibility” around handwashing and the “need” for it.
With the current state the world is in, and the ever-rising need to consistently wash your hands (with soap, and in an effective and long enough manner to kill germs), could public health messaging do anything to improve and enhance rates for males, and the gap in the female population?
Experts agree that this might help; however, the messaging within campaigns would have to differ between the sexes, and potentially targeted within restrooms.
Either way, handwashing, with soap and water, for at least 20 seconds is one of the best defenses when fighting the coronavirus, as well as most infections. Time for the male population to step it up a notch or two in this regard.