Did you know that more than 80% of illnesses can be transmitted by the hands?  Did you also know that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends hand hygiene as one of the most important steps to avoid getting sick and spreading germs to others?  Yet, is hand hygiene one of the measures you take to stay healthy?
Earlier this year, GOJO Industries, the makers of Purell Advanced Hand Sanitizer, took a closer look at the most recent cold and flu season and found some interesting, icky and fun facts in a survey that was commissioned with Wakefield Research. One thousand adults across the United States were asked a variety of questions about hand hygiene and this past cold and flu season, and some of the answers really stood out. 
- Did you know that 69% of working Americans don’t take sick days because they don’t want to miss a day of work, even if they are actually sick?
- Did you know that 59% of working Americans frequently cover up their cold and flu symptoms while at work?
- Did you know that 57% of Americans engage in “icky” habits, which include not washing their hands after sneezing or using the restroom?
- Did you know that 60% of those surveyed have witnessed a coworker sneezing without a tissue?
- Did you know that out of those who haven’t gotten sick this season, the majority of them, nearly 67%, say that hand hygiene is the reason why?
THE FACTS POINT TO PROTECTING YOURSELF
While these facts may tell a lot about human behavior, especially during cold and flu season, one item that stands out is the important role hand hygiene plays in preventing the spread of illness-causing germs and reducing the risk of illness, anytime of the year, not just during cold and flu season.
In order to reduce the spread of those illness-causing germs, it is important to remember to practice hand hygiene at key moments, which include:
- Before and after preparing food
- Before eating
- After using the bathroom
- After sneezing or coughing
- After touching anything that is in a high-traffic area that may have been touched by many different hands, such as a door handle, gas pump handle and a restroom doorknob
This infographic details the survey results—all the fun, and maybe even some icky, details.
2013 Meta-analysis of germ transmission data by Dr. Gerba, University of Arizona.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).Handwashing: Clean Hands Save Lives. http://www.cdc.gov/handwashing/when-how-handwashing.html December 11, 2013.
Wakefield Research conducted a survey between January 22nd and February 2nd, 2015, among 1,000 U.S. nationally representative adults aged18 and older. The margin of error at the 95 percent confidence level is +/- 3.1 percentage points. Survey sponsored by the makers of Purell Hand Sanitizer.