International Clean Hands Week

The American Cleaning Institute designated September 16 through 22, 2012, as International Clean Hands Week. Keeping hands clean is very important because 80 percent of infectious diseases are transmitted by touch. Proper hand hygiene is an easy way to prevent illnesses from spreading. Commercial cleaning services use more comprehensive approaches to keep bacteria and viruses from accumulating on various surfaces in commercial and educational environments.

A recent survey from Harris Interactive indicated that less than one-third of adults in the U.S. always wash their hands after sneezing or coughing. Georgia-Pacific Professional publicized a sharable infographic to coincide with International Clean Hands Week and this reinforces the importance of hand washing. After learning the facts, everyone should want to make hand washing a daily priority.

The informative graphic informs us that germs are everywhere including office keyboards and classroom doorknobs. It notes that germs like influenza A/B can live up to 48 hours on hard, nonporous surfaces such as plastic or stainless steel. According to The Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, the economic cost of productivity losses in the U.S. is nearly $25 billion, $16.6 billion of which is due to lost productivity on the job.

While auto accidents cause 33,800 deaths within 30 days of occurrence each year, hospital-acquired infections account for 99,000 deaths annually. Nearly 50 percent of students reported that they do not use a school restroom because it is not clean. These statistics stress the importance of regular, comprehensive janitorial services in various environments.

Americans must also do their part to prevent the spread of bacteria, germs, and viruses. Soap and hand hygiene education prevented one-half of cases of gastrointestinal illness according to one randomized controlled trial. Proper hand washing begins with wetting the hands with clean, running water, adding soap, creating a lather, rubbing the hands together for 20 seconds, rinsing hands under running water, drying them with a clean towel, and using the towel to turn off the faucet.

Using a paper towel to dry hands reduces finger pad bacteria by 76 percent and reduces bacteria on palms by as much as 77 percent. Clean hands have been shown to approve attendance and health in schools, with one study revealing a 20 percent increase in number of students with zero absences. Individuals should do their part to prevent the spread of germs and cleaning professionals will swing the odds in their favor by sanitizing commercial spaces.

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