In numerous medical reports and scientific papers, it is unequivocally stated that dirty hands increase the risk of gastrointestinal, respiratory and skin infections. The aim of the present study was to assess hand hygiene practices in Silesia, Poland. In 2012, 400 persons were observed in public toilets located in shopping centres of Silesia. Disguised, participant and controlled observations were used. Results indicated that women wash their hands more frequently and longer than men. Women washed their hands for 10.2 (standard deviation (SD) = 7.3) s on average, while men devoted an average of 8.2 (SD = 5.8) s to this activity. Men dried their hands for about 3 s longer and used soap more frequently than women. The study also revealed a significant relationship between the correctness of the hand-washing procedure and the place of observation (p < 0.05). Based on the research and available literature, it can be concluded that health activities promoting the hand-washing procedure need to be introduced in Poland.

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