Handwashing is the best way to avoid spreading infection, according to the CDC. But doctors, nurses and hospital staff wash up less than half as often as they should. Some hospitals encourage handwashing by posting signs that tell docs a simple scrub will prevent them from getting sick. But a study finds a more effective reminder: clean hands helps patients. The research is in the journal Psychological Science.
Investigators posted one of three signs at 66 soap and sanitizer dispensers in a US hospital. Either “Hand hygiene prevents you from catching diseases,” “Hand hygiene prevents patients from catching diseases,” or a control sign that read “Gel in, wash out.” Then they measured how much soap and gel disappeared after two weeks. And they asked a few docs and nurses to spy on their colleagues’ handwashing habits.
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