As the United States deals with the Enterovirus D68 and while Ebola is a daily headline, a national survey reveals Americans, unfortunately, take

short cuts when washing their hands. The survey discovered that Americans don't wash long enough, don't always use soap and sometimes don't wash at all after using a public restroom.

The findings are part of a Healthy Hand Washing Survey conducted by Bradley Corporation, an international manufacturer of commercial hand washing products.

While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends washing for at least 20 seconds to allow enough time to remove and rinse off germs, the survey indicates the majority of Americans (55 percent) are cutting that time short. The CDC suggests singing "Happy Birthday" twice to hit the 20-second mark.

And, while it may seem surprising, 70 percent of Americans admit they've simply rinsed their hands with water instead of soaping up after using a public restroom. That compares to 54 percent two years prior who owned up that they had skipped the important cleansing step.

The incidence of non-washers also appears to be on the rise. More Americans say they frequently or occasionally see others leave a public restroom without washing their hands at all. 81 percent reported such behavior compared to 74 percent the previous year.

The good news is that the majority of Americans do tend to step up their hand washing habits in response to news coverage of airborne or food-borne illnesses. 57 percent say they wash their hands more frequently, more thoroughly or longer as a result of media attention.

"It's important that everyone knows and understands the importance of hand washing because it's the first line of defense in fighting off cold and flu germs," says Jon Dommisse, director of global marketing and strategic development for Bradley Corporation.

The Healthy Hand Washing survey queried 1,015 American adults Aug. 1-5, 2013 about their hand washing habits in workplace and public restrooms. Participants were from around the country, ranged in age from 18 to 65 and older, and were fairly evenly split between men and women (47 and 53 percent).

SOURCE Bradley Corporation

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