It’s January. The holidays are over and now we look ahead to a month of possibly colder temperatures, snow and winter germs. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, cold and flu season typically peaks in the United States between December and February.1
Last year, we commissioned a survey with Wakefield Research focused on the 2014-2015 cold and flu season, and some of what we uncovered can only be described as well, icky. For example, did you know that nearly 70 percent of those working Americans who were surveyed do not take sick days?2 And on the flip side, nearly three in four parents have sent their child to school sick.3 Or, how about the fact that 60 percent of those surveyed saw their co-worker sneeze without using a tissue?4
And while this is a time when winter germs may be more prevalent; it is also a time to remember the important role hand hygiene – handwashing with soap and water or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer - plays in preventing the spread of illness-causing germs. In fact, in the Wakefield Survey, it showed that of those who didn’t get sick last cold and flu season, the majority of them, 62 percent, said that hand hygiene is the reason why.5
Hand hygiene is one of the most important preventive measures we can take to reduce our risk of getting ill, and it is critical to remember to practice hand hygiene at key moment, which include:
- Before and after preparing food;
- Before eating;
- Before and after caring for someone that is sick or around someone who is ill;
- After using the bathroom;
- After sneezing or coughing; and
- After touching anything that is in a high-traffic area that may have been touched by many different hands, such as the grocery cart handle, a phone or a handrail.
To learn more about this survey, check out this infographic we developed, which provides all of the fun, and maybe some icky, details.