Study: College students' pandemic preparedness is sub-par
September 30, 2009
BOSTON — A recent study released by Simmons College''s Center for Hygiene and Health in Home and Community, and sponsored by an educational grant from Reckitt Benckiser''s LYSOL® brand products, revealed that college students are not following proper hygiene guidelines to help protect themselves from serious illness, according to a press release.
Despite growing concerns about H1N1 influenza A (swine flu) and other transmittable infections on college campuses, only 63 percent of students polled had cleaned their dorm room in the past week, the release stated.
According to the release, 73 percent of respondents admitted they had never cleaned their dorm room door handle, one of the most frequently touched surfaces and a conduit for germ spread; such habits expose students to thousands of bacteria, including methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), Escherichia coli (E. coli), fecal organisms, streptococcus and more.
Dr. Elizabeth Scott, co-director of the Simmons College Center for Hygiene and Health in Home and Community, said: "These findings compound the concerns many parents have about their child''s health when they''re away at college and out of their home. Parents can help students stay healthy at college by encouraging them to take small preventative measures every day to help protect themselves from germs."
While television remote controls and shared bathroom sink handles generally harbor less bacteria than other high-touch surfaces, both were found to be contaminated with MRSA in some of the dorm rooms studied, the release noted.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), students should practice good hand hygiene by washing their hands often with soap and water, especially after coughing or sneezing and keep surfaces clean by wiping them down with a household disinfectant according to directions on the product label.
Communal shower floors were the most contaminated surface in the dormitory, harboring more than 40 times the number of bacteria found on the toilet seat, the release added.
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