Sensor recorded changes in rates of hand washing with soap in response to the media reports of the H1N1 pandemic in Britain

Diana Fleischman, G. Webster, G. Judah, M. De Barra, R. Aunger, V. Curtis

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Abstract

Objectives: To examine how the frequency of information regarding a real disease threat influences hand washing with soap. Design and setting: The authors installed wireless devices in highway service station lavatories in England to record the proportion of individuals washing hands with soap from May 2009 to January 2010. Participants: Participants were users of men's and women's toilets. Combined there was an average of 6800 participant entrances into the lavatories daily. Primary outcome measure: The primary outcome measure is the proportion of soap usage to the number of entries into the lavatories. Results: Hand-washing rates were positively related to both H1NI coverage in blogs and the news; however, these relationships were stronger for men than for women. Conclusions: Hand washing with soap increases proportionally to the frequency of media key words related to H1N1. Women's hand washing was more strongly associated with incidence of media keywords than men's.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e000127
JournalBMJ Open
Volume1
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2011

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