24 Personal Hygiene Facts, Stats & Tips That’ll Shock You

hand sanitiser bottle and facemasks

Good hygiene is essential, particularly in the winter to avoid unwanted colds and flu viruses. As well as the colder months, summer can also have its hygiene downfalls. It costs UK businesses an average of £1.3bn of sick leave each year which can be more easily avoided if better hygiene practices were enforced. These tips will help you achieve excellent hygiene within your organisation; you never know they may even come in handy!

Let’s start with number 1…

1. Germs Survive Longer Than You May Think

Did you know germs can survive for up to three hours on your hands?

Consistent hand hygiene is essential to clearing your hands of germs, even germs caught up to 3 hours ago. Get the low down on germs, bacteria and viruses to learn exactly how illness can be avoided with good hygiene standards.

2. The ‘Five-second Rule’ – Is There Such Thing?

There’s actually no such thing as the ‘five-second rule’. 

When it comes to dropping food on the ground bacteria is ruthless; it needs no time at all to contaminate your food making you feel unwell. Always avoid eating food off the ground; your floorcare may be impeccable however dirty outdoor shoes can attract more bacteria than you think.

3. Wash Your Hands for 20 Seconds Each Time

The average person washes their hands, after going to the toilet, for 6 seconds even though we should be spending at least 20 seconds cleaning our hands.

Proper Hand washing Is one of the most effective methods of getting rid of harmful germs and bacteria. The last thing you want at any time of the year is an unnecessary illness that could’ve been avoided in the first instance with good hand hygiene.

4. Bacteria is Everywhere!

There are between 2 to 10 million bacteria on your fingertips and elbows.

Effectively wash your hands by scrubbing all the way to your fingertips. Who knew your elbows also carried so many bacteria too? Encourage and educate your employees and loved ones on good hygiene habits all year round to prevent the spread.

Educate by downloading our helpful hygiene guidance posters you can display at home and in the workplace.

5. Be Wary of the Food You Buy

Did you know 70% of all foodborne illnesses originate during foodservice operations?

You can’t trust every food source you buy your food from. Human error is a huge factor to contaminating food during the production stages. Ensure your food fuel is from a trustworthy source with no potential contamination. Food service establishments can minimise cross contamination by following safe and effective hygiene practices.

6. Wash Your Hands Before Eating

Women’s desks have been found to harbour 3-4 times more germs than that of their male co-workers. 

A study by Dr. Gerba found that women’s desks and equipment such as phones and keyboards was far more germ infested. There could be many reasons for this but interaction with desks such as applying make up and placing hand bags on the desk itself could be cited as some of the main reasons why.

7. Colds & Flus Are Damaging the Economy

It costs UK businesses an average of £1.3bn of sick leave due to colds each year.

That’s a lot of money spent on illness that can be avoided with effective hand hygiene. Don’t be a part of the problem, ensure your employees have all the necessary hand hygiene supplies to minimise the risk of transmission within your business.

8. Every 30 Minutes This Happens!

On average, you come into contact with 840,000 germs every 30 mins.

A shocking fact that reiterates how important it is to consistently maintain good general hygiene throughout the day to avoid germs causing illness. According to recent research from the University College London, you should be washing your hands between 6-10 times per day to reduce the risk of contracting unwanted diseases such as the coronavirus.

9. Toilet Fingertip Germs

The number of germs on your fingertips doubles after you use the toilet.

This may sound obvious – wash your hands after using the toilet! It’s so important for your health and, especially during the festive period, your health and hygiene should be a priority so you can enjoy deserved time off with close family and friends.

10. The Cold & Flu Season is Upon Us

40% of people don’t wash their hands after sneezing, coughing or blowing their nose.

Especially with seasonal flu lurking around and the coronavirus continuing to spread, ensure you wash your hands effectively after every sneeze and cough. Carry around pocket size hand sanitiser that’s easily accessible which helps to reduce hand bacteria by 99.9%.

11. Hand Drying is Important Too!

Your hands spread 1,000 times more germs when they are damp than when they are dry.

Information on the importance of sufficient hand drying is often missed out however it’s an essential component to good hand hygiene. Ensure your hands are dry and not damp to avoid spreading 1000 times more germs!

12. Ear Infections – Ouch!

Hundreds of thousands of people in the U.K acquire outer ear infections each year, due to contaminated water remaining in the ear after swimming or bathing.

We’re sure you can agree, there’s nothing worse than earache. Keep your ears healthy and ready for beautiful carols this season by ensuring your bathing water is clean and uncontaminated.

13. How to Reduce the Risk of Respiratory Infections

Handwashing can reduce the risk of respiratory infections by 16%.

The pandemic has seen a global outbreak of the Coronavirus, an unpleasant respiratory illness that has so far seen over 1.23 million deaths. Avoid all respiratory infections this winter, stay safe and healthy by sticking to good hand hygiene.

14. Toilets, Yuck!

Did you know 38% of men and 60% of women don’t wash their hands after going to the toilet?

However, since the pandemic more and more people are washing their hands more effectively to avoid the risk of illness. In fact, Citron carried out a survey to see how hygiene habits had changed pre COVID-19 compared to after COVID-19 revealing how hand hygiene practice after using the toilet had improved throughout the UK. It’s a shame we needed the pandemic to make a change to our hygiene habits.

15. Save the Population with Hand Washing

Researchers in London estimate that if everyone routinely washed their hands, a million deaths a year could be prevented.

All it takes is 20 seconds multiple times throughout the day to save the lives of many across the globe. A little hand hygiene doesn’t hurt anyone but the lack of it does.

16. Are You Washing Your Hands Properly?

84% of people don’t wash their hands effectively to properly remove germs and bacteria. Even worse, people have been found to tell fibs about whether they even wash their hands at all.

Why not promote proper hand washing techniques with effective hand cleaning posters and signage to encourage staff to wash their hands correctly as opposed to a half job that could encourage the spread of illness.

17. Hospital Sanitation

1 in 25 hospital patients catch an infection that could be avoided with better sanitation.

You would expect hospitals to have good hygiene measures under control however there’s always room for improvement. With the hospital full of vulnerable, sick patients avoid any further illness by improving general hospital sanitation.

18. Contaminated Hands & Foodborne Illnesses

A large percentage of foodborne disease outbreaks are spread by contaminated hands. 

Appropriate hand washing practices can reduce the risk of foodborne illness and other infections therefore ensure employees are practicing good hygiene whether they’re at home or in the office to avoid spreading foodborne diseases.

19. The Importance of Washroom Hygiene in Schools

43% of parents say their children do not drink water throughout the day to avoid having to use the washrooms.

Adequate water consumption is essential to wellbeing, the lack of school washroom sanitation shouldn’t hinder this. Schools need to learn the importance of excellent school hygiene standards especially during a particularly vulnerable period.

20. Workspace Hygiene

The average computer keyboard harbours around 7500 bacteria and 11% of office workers never clean them.

Less than half of people only sanitise their keyboard less than once a month. It has been said that viruses such as the flu can survive on such surfaces for up to and sometimes even more than 24 hours. That’s why the importance of effective desk and equipment wipes cannot be overstated especially in a workplace environment.

21. Hand Hygiene in Schools

The use of an alcohol gel hand sanitiser in the classroom provided an overall reduction in absenteeism due to infection by 19.8% among 16 primary schools and 6,000 students.

Auto hand sanitisers can ensure all your students are protected from harmful diseases that can spread quickly. Find more advice on how to keep your students and staff safe in our School Hygiene Guide.

22. The Importance of Soap

1/3 of people don’t use soap when washing their hands.

Without soap, you’re unable to tackle stubborn hand germs that contribute to illness. Ensure you’re using effective soap dispensers that help to minimise the risk of contamination and the spread of illness.

23. No Handwashing at All!?

15% of men don’t wash their hands at all compared to 7% women.

Everyone should be washing their hands multiple times per day after constantly coming into contact with filthy objects and surfaces. Don’t become lazy, stick to consistent hand hygiene measures to stay safe.

24. Clean Your Desks!

The average work desk is actually 400 times dirtier than the average toilet seat.

There are in fact around 10 million bacteria that live on your office desk. Utilise effective cleaning wipes for your office equipment and give your desk a good clean before the end of the day, clean and ready for the next.

Speak to the Hygiene Experts

If you have any questions regarding hygiene during this time or how to maintain a safer environment for employees in the New Year and beyond, get in touch with our hygiene experts today.

Find out how we can help elevate your washroom experience. Talk to us.

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