New Survey Reveals America's "Germy" Secrets From This Year's Cold and Flu Season

New Survey Reveals America's "Germy" Little Secrets From This Year's Cold and Flu Season (3.79 MB)

Includes press release, infographic, logo and trademark guidelines

PURELL® Survey Finds 57 Percent of Americans Engage in "Icky Habits"

With rising concerns about communicable diseases and worries about families and loved ones catching the flu, practicing consistent and thorough hand hygiene to decrease the spread of illness-causing germs is more important than ever. A recent survey commissioned by GOJO Industries, the makers of PURELL® Hand Sanitizer, found that, on average, more than half (55 percent) of Americans have already been sick this cold and flu season.1

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 80 percent of infectious diseases are transmitted by touch2 and the CDC recommends hand hygiene as one of the most important steps to avoid getting sick and spreading germs to others.3 Yet, survey findings showed that an alarming 57 percent of Americans do not wash their hands after engaging in one or more “unsanitary acts” including using a restroom, sneezing or coughing into their hands, riding public transportation, or being around someone who is visibly sick.4

What’s more, among working Americans, 81 percent admitted to witnessing their colleagues engage in “dirty habits” on the job such as sneezing without a tissue (60 percent) or picking their nose (39 percent), exposing co-workers to the risk of infection. A big offense is happening in the office bathroom, with 52 percent of employed Americans witnessing their colleagues forgetting to wash their hands after using the restroom.5 Additional survey findings reveal:

Little Hands

 

  • Nearly 3 in 4 parents (74 percent) have sent their child to school sick6
  • Thirty percent (30 percent) of parents have never given their child a hand sanitizer “lesson.”7 
  • Ninety-six percent (96 percent) of parents would like to see hand sanitizer in their child’s classroom.8  

Tip: Make Hand Hygiene Kid-Friendly.

Sing & Scrub: Parents can help keep their families healthy by teaching their children about the importance of hand hygiene and making it a family activity. The CDC recommends that we wash our hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds (singing a fun song like “Happy Birthday” twice makes handwashing enjoyable for all ages). When using hand sanitizer, apply enough product to thoroughly cover your hands, then rub hands together briskly until dry – the entire process should take approximately 15 seconds.9

Key Moments: Encourage your little one to either wash their hands with soap and water or sanitize their hands with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer at key moments such as:

  • Before and after eating
  • After using the bathroom
  • After sneezing or coughing
  • After recess, sporting events and group activities …before the celebration snack is passed around!

A message worth repeating: Remind your kids to avoid touching their eyes, nose, and mouth. Sticky notes on your child’s lunchbox and on the fridge at home can help reinforce this habit.

Working Hands

  • Sixty-nine percent (69 percent) of working Americans don’t take sick days because they don’t want to miss a day of work, even if they’re actually sick.10
  • In fact, 62 percent have gone to work sick in the past six months.11

 

Tip: Stay Home. This is one of the best ways to prevent germs from spreading, but is often the least followed advice. Adults don’t want to use sick days or personal time for illness, whether they themselves or a family member are sick.  Remember, staying home when sick is the healthiest option for everyone.

Sharing Hands

  • This year, 44 percent of Americans admitted they hesitated to give handshakes out of fear of germs.12 That number has jumped up from 28 percent in 201013

 

Tip: Don’t hesitate to shake hands. Either grab an alcohol-based hand sanitizer or wash your hands after exchanging this universal greeting.

“Illness-causing germs are picked up from surfaces, like restaurant menus, elevator buttons, or grocery cart handles, which are objects that are in high-traffic areas and often not cleaned regularly. After these surfaces are touched, the person may infect themselves by touching their eyes, nose or mouth with their hands,” said Dr. Roshini Raj, an attending physician at NYU Medical Center/Tisch Hospital. “Hand hygiene can be instrumental in controlling the spread of infectious disease. Taking simple steps like packing portable PURELL products on the outside of your child's lunchbox, or keeping an alcohol-based hand sanitizer at your desk and in rooms throughout your house, makes hand hygiene easily accessible to everyone.”

When soap and water are not available, the CDC recommends using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol, to reduce germs on hands and decrease the spread of illness-causing germs.14  PURELL Hand Sanitizer kills 99.99 percent of the most common germs on the surface of your hands and is clinically proven to maintain the skin’s natural condition, while providing a good sensory experience.15

“This survey highlights that hand hygiene must be practiced far more thoroughly and regularly – whether it’s at home, in the office or on-the-go,” said Jim Arbogast, Ph.D. Vice President of Hygiene Sciences and Public Health Advancements, GOJO Industries. “Keeping hands clean should be second nature for all of us – it’s a simple and effective way to prevent you and your family from getting sick and spreading germs to others.”

For more information about where germs lurk, the importance of proper hand hygiene and how hand sanitizers work, visit www.purell.com. For more survey stats, view this infographic or contact:

Samantha Williams, GOJO Industries
330-255-6397
willisam@gojo.com

Lauren Tobin, Hunter Public Relations
212-679-6600, x41277
ltobin@hunterpr.com

# # #
ABOUT PURELL® HAND SANITIZER
GOJO Industries, Inc. (www.gojo.com) is the inventor of PURELL® Advanced Instant Hand Sanitizer, and the leading global producer and marketer of skin health and hygiene solutions for away-from-home settings. The broad GOJO product portfolio includes hand cleaning, hand washing, hand sanitizing and skin care formulas under the GOJO®, PURELL® and PROVON® brand names. GOJO formulations use the latest advances in the science of skin care and sustainability. GOJO is known for state-of-the-art dispensing systems, engineered with attention to design, sustainability and functionality. GOJO programs promote healthy behaviors for hand hygiene, skin care and compliance in critical environments. GOJO is a privately held corporation headquartered in Akron, with offices in the United Kingdom, France, Australia, Japan and Brazil.

ABOUT THE SURVEY   
The survey was conducted by Wakefield Research among 1,000 nationally representative U.S. adults aged 18+, between Jan. 22 and Feb. 2, 2015.
 

Results of any sample are subject to sampling variation. The magnitude of that variation is measurable and is affected by the number of interviews conducted. For the interviews conducted, the chances are 95 in 100 that a survey result does not vary, plus or minus, by more than 3.1 percentage points from the result that would be obtained if interviews had been conducted with all persons in the universe represented by the sample.

 

1. 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.
2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).CDC Quick Reference Guide for Public Information on Infection Control. http://d3n8a8pro7vhmx.cloudfront.net/unitedchurchofchrist/legacy_url/3009/SwineFluInformation.pdf?1418426046
3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).Handwashing: Clean Hands Save Lives. http://www.cdc.gov/handwashing/when-how-handwashing.html December 11, 2013.
4. 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.
5. 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.
6. 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.
7. 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.
8. 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.
9. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).Handwashing: Clean Hands Save Lives. http://www.cdc.gov/handwashing/when-how-handwashing.html December 11, 2013.
10. 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.
11. 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.
12. 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.
13. Wakefield Research conducted a survey between September7th and September 10th, 2010, among 1,003 U.S. nationally representative adults aged18 and older. The margin of error at the 95 percent confidence level is +/- 3.09 percentage points. Survey sponsored by the makers of PURELL Hand Sanitizer.
14. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).Handwashing: Clean Hands Save Lives. http://www.cdc.gov/handwashing/when-how-handwashing.html December 11, 2013.
15. Clinical field study #2011-F10232, April 2011 and clinical field study #2011-F10233, April 2011.