In post-pandemic India, 65%* champion a preventive hygiene-enabled lifestyle: Finds Savlon Swasth India Mission’s ‘Hygiene study’

Savlon Swasth India Mission publishes its first attitudinal study on hygiene habits in India

New Delhi (India), April 26: Set against the context of the pandemic, much has been theorized and communicated on Hygiene practices and its adoption. While the pandemic has accelerated adoption of hygiene practices, some are still reluctant and lack a clear understanding of hygiene. 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 behavioral study on current Hygiene trends. The study assesses usage, perception and behavior 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.

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. 1 in 2 still disinfect their packages from outside and frequently touched surfaces. 9 of 10 people use hand sanitisers daily. However, despite such a large proportion following the practices, people are still confused about hand hygiene practices. Around 1 in 2 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.

The study also 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.

It is interesting to note that 1 in 2 respondents understand that all types of masks don’t offer the same amount of protection. As per a study done by ACGIH, if we all wear N95 masks (or its comparable BIS certified FFP2 S mask) correctly, we can stay protected from virus 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, 1 in 5 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 like 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 elucidates that parents are the critical change champions who drive education and the importance of hand hygiene in children. Around 8 out of 10 parents have taught their children how to wash their hands and a similar number agrees to reminding their child to wash hands.  More than 8 out of 10 parents ensure that their child carries sanitizers to keep their hands clean.

Speaking on the findings, Mr. Sameer Satpathy, Divisional Chief Executive, Personal Care Products Business, ITC Limited, 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 by Savlon Swasth India Mission 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.“

About Savlon Swasth India Mission:

The Savlon Swasth India Mission programme 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, Savlon Swasth India Mission has initiated numerous initiatives over the years like the 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.

*65% of the survey respondents

** wash/clean hands after touching door/handles, after touching package, after using lift/elevator, after paying with cash, after picking the newspaper

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