People in Britain are now going to extreme lengths to keep germs at bay — including crossing the road to avoid others, cleaning mobiles with anti-bacterial wipes and disposing of shopping bags after just one use, according to a survey.
A poll of 2,000 adults found three quarters have a new routine following lockdown that sees them leaving food shopping in bags for an average of 27 minutes before unpacking it.
It found post and deliveries were left for 41 minutes before touching them.
Almost four in 10 (38 per cent) have added cleaning door handles to their usual cleaning routine, 23 per cent wear a face mask to the supermarket and 17 per cent no longer pet dogs when out on a walk.
The research, which was commissioned by Fulvisafe, a non-alcohol, antiviral and anti-bacterial sanitiser brand, also found 78 per cent were more aware of their hygiene habits.
This has seen the average adult wash their hands nine times a day — compared to just six prior to the pandemic.
And 40 per cent intended to stick to their new routine and habits even when the lockdown period is over, with one-third claiming they will always be more anxious of germs and hygiene from now on.
Nicola Smuts-Allsop, founder of Fulvisafe, said: “The nation is more aware of combating germs since the coronavirus outbreak and it is clear people have changed their everyday routines to stay as safe as possible.
“With the statistics showing people will stick to their new routine for at least a few months — and an eighth of people for up to a year — this paints a picture of the new normal for many.
“Hand sanitiser, face masks and gloves are now handbag essentials but there is a lot of unknown around what products are in many sanitisers and how safe they are to be using continuously."
The research also found a third of people have been cleaning their house more often, with 46 per cent wiping down surfaces more regularly.
And 18 per cent have even increased the number of showers they have.
More than half now take hand sanitiser out with them when they leave the house, 27 per cent carry gloves and three in 10 always have anti-bacterial wipes on them.
Similarly, 41 per cent take tissues out with them and one in 20 even pack a change of clothes.
But with 65 per cent of respondents washing their hands for at least 20 seconds nowadays, a quarter have suffered with dry and cracked hands and 37 per cent have been moisturising them more regularly.
Almost half have noticed that using alcohol-based sanitiser has had a detrimental effect on their skin and 19 per cent have reduced their use of it as a result.
More than one in 10 (11 per cent) are anxious about the amount of alcohol used in hand sanitising products and 15 per cent would like to know more about the ingredients used.
It also emerged one-sixth of those polled, via OnePoll, are worried about the long-term damage on their skin due to washing their hands more often.
And of those surveyed who are parents, one-quarter have struggled to find hygiene products that are safe and gentle for their child since the coronavirus outbreak.
Ms Smuts-Allsop added: “The research shows that people are finding that the high levels of alcohol in some sanitisers is damaging their skin, as result many are not washing their hands as long or as often."
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