Many Americans Do Not Follow Proper Health, Hygiene Practices

OTC GuideJune 2020
Volume 24
Issue 1

More than 69% of survey respondents reported using more hand soap, and 59% said they have used more hand sanitizer since learning about the COVID-19 pandemic.

Two surveys conducted by the American Cleaning Institute and ValuePenguin found that although Americans are concerned about their health, many do not adhere to proper health and hygiene practices.1,2 ValuePenguin conducted an online survey of 1311 Americans, with the sample base proportioned to represent overall population. One of the results from the survey showed that 42% of Americans do not wash their hands every time they use the restroom. Further, 18% admitted to regularly biting their nails. Both these habits could contribute to the continuous spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).1

In addition, 55% of Americans confessed to getting less than 7 hours of sleep per night. Meanwhile, 66% said they are not eating enough helpings of fruit and vegetables, and 70% said they are not getting the recommended 2.5 hours of physical activity per week.1

The findings also showed that 13% of Americans do not have access to health care professionals and preventive care. Moreover, more than 19% of Generation Z respondents are not insured, nor are 15% of millennials and 15% of members of Generation X.1 Regarding long-term health, 53% of Americans do not visit their primary care physicians for yearly checkups, although more men do than women.

Furthermore, members of Generation Z are most likely to lie to their health care professionals and go into work when they are sick, and 21% reported lying to their employee-sponsored health insurance providers, according to the survey.1

The American Cleaning Institute, with the assistance of Ipsos, conducted a poll that found that although 58% of Americans are more mindful about washing their hands for at least 20 seconds, 10% still have not made any changes to their hand hygiene. The institute conducted an online survey from March 18 to March 19, with a sample of 1005 adults aged 18 years and older.2

More than 69% of respondents reported using more hand soap, and 59% said they have used more hand sanitizer since learning about the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, fewer than half the participants reported increased use of multipurpose disinfectant wipes (44%) or spray (36%), as well as paper towels (35%). Regardless, 82% said they are confident that the cleaning products they use will protect against the spread of the virus, according to the survey.2


  • Bad habits get in the way of staying healthy during COVID-19, survey finds. News release. MarketWatch. April 2, 2020. Accessed April 2, 2020.
  • Eight in ten Americans are confident in the ability of their cleaning products to protect against COVID-19. News release. Ipsos. March 25, 2020. Accessed April 2, 2020.

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