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Savlon Swasth India Mission publishes study on hygiene habits in India
Set against the context of the pandemic, much has been theorised and communicated on hygiene practices. While the pandemic has accelerated adoption of hygiene practices, some are still reluctant and lack a clear understanding of hygiene, according to the newly published study by Savlon Swasth India Mission, on hygiene habits in India.
To study the actual shift in behaviour and practice, Savlon Swasth India Mission, as part of its philosophy to build a healthier and stronger India, commissioned a nationwide attitudinal and behavioural study on current hygiene trends.
The study assesses usage, perception and behaviour towards hygiene-related practices in 2022 focused on the primary premises of hand hygiene, surface disinfection and mask etiquettes. The quantitative survey reveals some interesting trends and facts on adopting preventive hygiene as a lifestyle.
The study brings to light an intriguing dichotomy on disinfecting surfaces. While 87% believe that cleaning isn't enough and 64% believe that every surface needs disinfection; close to 70% say that surfaces that look clean and dirt free gives them the confidence of safety and hygiene, thereby discounting in entirety, the invisible germ load on frequently touched surfaces. This is despite most of them understanding that cleaning isn't suffice and disinfection is required.
Some 65% of the audiences surveyed wear a mask and continued to follow any one of the personal or home hygiene practices, despite the ebbing of the pandemic wave, (wash/clean hands after touching door/handles, after touching packages, after using lifts/elevators, after paying with cash, after picking up a newspaper). One in two still disinfect their packages from outside and frequently touched surfaces. Nine of 10 people use hand sanitisers daily. However, despite such a large proportion following the practices, people are still confused about hand hygiene. Around one in two survey respondents still believe if indoors, washing hands with water is enough. Similarly, half of those surveyed believe that the duration of washing hands does not matter as long as soap/handwash is used.
It is interesting to note that one in two respondents understand that all types of masks don't offer the same amount of protection. As per a study carried out by the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists, if we all wear N95 masks (or its comparable BIS certified FFP2 S mask) correctly, we can stay protected from viruses for up to 25 hours, even in the presence of an infected person. However, this number drops to a mere 27 minutes if both wear cloth masks. Despite this fact, 51% chose comfort and breathability, but not a stamp of authenticity while the latter can assure a user of the mask's quality and efficiency. Further, one in five people still believe that a mask is not required if you are fully vaccinated or have recovered from Covid-19.
Southern India has emerged to be more conscious of preventive hygiene with better understanding of need for hygiene scenarios such as use of masks. The study reveals that respondents of Southern India understand the importance of wearing N95/FFP2 S better than the rest of India. It leads the number of people wearing N95/FFP2 S with 57% compared to 36% in North/Central region, 34% in West and 39% in East. Close to 70% of N95/FFP2 S mask wearers of Southern India feel that N95/FFP2 S offer more protection than other masks.
The study further underlines the fact that parents are the critical change champions who drive education and the importance of hand hygiene in children. Around eight out of 10 parents have taught their children how to wash their hands and a similar number agree to reminding their children to wash their hands. More than eight out of 10 parents ensure that their children carry sanitisers to keep their hands clean.
Speaking on the findings, Sameer Satpathy, divisional chief executive, personal care products business, ITC, said: "The pandemic has accelerated the adoption of hygiene practices that have been imperative to mitigate easily preventable vulnerabilities. With Savlon Swasth India Mission, our endeavour has been to educate, engage and empower access to affordable, convenient and effective hygiene practices.
“The trend study showcases the attitudinal progress in the understanding and practice of preventive hygiene in everyday life including some of the challenges triggered by the lack of knowledge. The study gives us a roadmap to better the consumer understanding between health and hygiene practices, and therefore help to build a healthier society & nation."
The Savlon Swasth India Mission program by ITC, since its inception in 2016, has reached over 16,200 schools in 16 Indian states and covered 5.7 million children with its innovative outreach. The ongoing program has delivered measurable success in effectiveness to help inculcate hand hygiene habits in primary school children. With innovation in design and communication at its core, it has initiated numerous initiatives over the years like Savlon Healthy Hands Chalk Sticks, Savlon ID Guard and the recent #NoHandUnwashed campaign to educate and encourage good hygiene habits.
Survey Details: Savlon Swasth India Mission's Hygiene Study was conducted with 1254 men and women above 25 years of age living in metros and non-metro cities. The survey was conducted by YouGov, one of the leading market research firms globally in March 2022.
7th April 2022