Concerns About Flu Virus Run High in UAE
MENOMONEE FALLS, Wisconsin, Aug. 29, 2017 : A national survey has found that 82pc of UAE adults are extremely or quite concerned about contracting the flu this season. In response, an overwhelming majority say they'll improve their hand washing habits after using public toilets. Half plan to wash their hands more frequently and another third will wash longer or more thoroughly.The findings are from the 2017 Healthy Hand Washing Survey conducted in June by Bradley Corporation, a leading manufacturer of commercial plumbing fixtures and public toilet accessories.
In addition to washing their hands, Emiratis utilize avoidance tactics to keep themselves from coming into contact with germs or passing them on to others. The survey found that adults stay home when they're sick, sit far away from others in crowded areas and refrain from shaking hands. Instead of a hand shake, they prefer to wave hello or give a high five or air kiss.
Of those in the workforce, 81% take extra precautions to dodge sick co-workers and their germs. The top evasion maneuvers include: avoid being near them; stand further away when talking to them; tell them to go home; and call them instead of meeting in person.
"Since we're entering the cold and flu season, it's good to know that Emiratis plan to take steps to try and limit their exposure to germs," says Mohamed Barakat, Middle East international sales manager for Bradley Corporation. "Still, it's inevitable that people will come into contact with germs, and washing with soap and water is the best and easiest way to remove them from your hands."
The survey also delved into hand washing behaviors in public toilets. While nearly all Emiratis believe it's important to wash up after using a public toilet, 77% confess that, on occasion, they've skipped the soap and simply rinsed their hands.
In addition, 29% say they frequently see others leave a public toilet without washing their hands. That's a significant increase from the 2014 Healthy Hand Washing Survey when only 16% reported that they frequently saw people skip this essential hygiene action.
On a positive note, peer pressure appears to encourage hand washing. If others are around, 43% say they're more likely to wash their hands. Another 19% will wash their hands longer or more thoroughly in that scenario.
The survey did uncover problems with public toilets. 86% of UAE residents report they've had a particularly unpleasant experience in a public toilet due to the condition of the facilities. When asked what improvements they'd like to see in public toilets, cleanliness topped the list followed by better technology and fixtures that are touchless.
Since cleanliness is an issue, those polled admit they employ a variety of techniques to avoid coming in contact with fixtures in a public toilet. 77% use a paper towel so they don't have to touch the toilet flusher, door handle or faucet handle. Others hover above the toilet seat and some use their elbow to turn the faucet on or off, operate the flusher or the towel dispenser.
The annual Healthy Hand Washing Survey queried 522 adults across the Emirates about their hand washing habits in public toilets and concerns about germs, colds and the flu June 13-23, 2017. Participants were from around the country, were 18 years and older and were split between men and women (55 and 45 percent).