Perhaps it’s not a coincidence that Global Handwashing Day comes right at the beginning of cold and flu season.
Established by the Global Public-Private Partnership for Handwashing, the day calls attention to efforts to increase awareness of the importance of hand washing with soap while also emphasizing how this simple action is an effective and affordable way to counteract diseases and ultimately save lives across the globe.
Global Handwashing Day’s mission is to encourage and support a global and local culture of hand washing with soap, highlight the state of hand washing around the world, and draw awareness to the health benefits of hand washing, particularly with soap.
Bradley Corporation, an international manufacturer of commercial hand washing products, conducts an annual Healthy Hand Washing Survey to track attitudes and behaviors concerning hand washing. What did they find?
While 92 percent of Americans believe it’s important to wash their hands after using a public restroom, only 66 percent of Americans say they always wash up after using a public restroom.
As for washing with soap, nearly 70 percent admit they’ve skipped the suds and just rinsed with water.
The survey also found that the majority of Americans come up short on how long they wash their hands. Nearly 60 percent of Americans wash their hands for just 15 seconds or less, while the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends washing with soap for at least 20 seconds to allow enough time to remove and rinse off germs.
Why Handwashing is so Important
According to the CDC, handwashing with soap removes germs from hands.
This helps prevent infections because:
- People frequently touch their eyes, nose, and mouth without even realizing it. Germs can get into the body through the eyes, nose and mouth and make us sick.
- Germs from unwashed hands can get into foods and drinks while people prepare or consume them. Germs can multiply in some types of foods or drinks, under certain conditions, and make people sick.
- Germs from unwashed hands can be transferred to other objects, like handrails, table tops, or toys, and then transferred to another person’s hands.
- Removing germs through handwashing therefore helps prevent diarrhea and respiratory infections and may even help prevent skin and eye infections.
We’ll have much more information on keeping everyone at your office healthy as this flu season rolls on, but if you already know you need some help banishing germs from your workplace, please see our Cleaning and Facility Supplies page or email Rich Radil, our Cleaning and Breakroom Manager.