Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Cold, Flu, & Cough Health Center

Font Size

Hand Hygiene Habits Improve

Survey Shows Americans Are Cleaning Up Their Hand Washing Habits
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

Sept. 22, 2009 -- Americans get a B- for their hand hygiene in a new survey about hand washing. That grade is up from a C- in 2008.

The new, improved grade is based on a survey of 888 U.S. adults. The survey, which was conducted by phone in August for the Soap and Detergent Association, gets into the nitty gritty of how often -- or how rarely -- participants wash their hands.

Here are some highlights from the survey:

  • Half of the participants say they wash their hands more than 10 times daily, up from 36% in 2008.
  • Women wash their hands more often than men do. For instance, 62% of women reported that they wash their hands more than 10 times daily, compared to 37% of men. And 41% of men say they wash their hands six times a day or less, compared to 17% of women.
  • 88% of participants say they "always" or "frequently" wash their hands before lunch.
  • 90% of participants say they always wash their hands after going to the bathroom, up 5% since 2008. But 3% say they never do, which is the same percentage as last year.

The survey has a margin of error of 3.4%.

Today on WebMD

hot toddy
15 tips to help you feel better.
man sneezing into elbow
Do echinacea and vitamin C really help a cold?
teen girl coughing
Get a good night’s rest with these remedies.
elder berry
Eat these to fight colds, flu, and more.
Natural Cold Flu Remedies Slideshow
cold weather
Allergy And Sinus Symptom Evaluator
Boy holding ear
woman receiving vaccine shot
woman with fever
Waking up from sleep
woman with sore throat