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February 2013 Cleanthoughts

Resisting The Omnipresent Onslaught

Visual reminders that reinforce the significance of hygienically clean hands can help us all maintain good health and avoid the consequences.

February 07, 2013
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We all know that rogue germs and bacteria can overpower our immune systems and lead to ailments of all sorts — from curable conditions and permanent maladies to pronounceable syndromes and tongue-twisting viruses.Germs and bacteria are no joking matter.

Another notion of near certain familiarity is that frequent handwashing and, in broader terms, practicing proper hand hygiene is the number one way to resist the barrage of pathogens whose evolutionary goal is to leach off of a host who inevitably falls ill and inadvertently spreads the contagion as it replicates within his or her body.

We are taught from a very young age that clean hands are important; as children, we are instructed to wash them before eating, after visiting the restroom, following contact with sick individuals and any time they appear dirty.

According to research conducted by members of SCA Tissue’s Tork Green Hygiene Council (TGHC), the average American comes into contact with more than 300 surfaces every 30 minutes, exposing him or herself to some 840,000 germs*.

And, as discovered by a recent survey from Cintas Corporation, roughly 84 percent of the American workforce willingly goes to work sick; almost half of those cognizant contributors take no caution to curb the spread of their sickness to their coworkers.

Knowing this, I wonder why so many of us fail to follow the guidelines recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO), municipal-level and state-run health departments and countless manufacturers, formulators and consultants.Germs and bacteria are no joking matter.

Numerous individuals and organizations — many with different agendas and inspirations — all agree upon the vitality of clean, germ-free hands.

But, no matter who delivers it, and despite the vehicle chosen to drive it home, the message never seems to truly sink in with the masses.

What’s worse, practicing proper hand hygiene is quick, easy and inexpensive — especially when you factor in the lost productivity and healthcare costs associated with being sick.

Cough Free Stuff Cough

So, to ensure that you, your workers and the whole kit and caboodle that are your building occupants, your customers and your loved ones at home are washing their hands effectively, we are providing a downloadable wall chart that details the steps to proper handwashing and how each is important in personal and collective health and wellbeing.

To access, download, print and share your free handwashing wall chart, log in to your CMM Online account and then click on “Downloads” from the Multimedia dropdown tab.

If you are not a registered member of the CMM Community, you will need to complete the registration form located at

Don’t worry: There are no fees associated with registration and we promise not to ask for your mother’s maiden name.

 Germs and bacteria are no joking matter.

*Contacting 300 surfaces every 30 minutes is equivalent to contact with 100 surfaces every 10 minutes or 10 surfaces every minute.

Encountering 840,000 germs from contact with 300 surfaces is equivalent to encountering 280,000 germs for every 100 surfaces or 28,000 germs every surface.

If you are contacting an average of 10 surfaces every minute and encountering roughly 28,000 germs in those 60 seconds, it quickly becomes apparent why frequent handwashing is such an important component of the larger picture that is proper hand hygiene.

For young children especially, who average upwards of 30 acts of hand-to-mouth contact every minute in extreme cases — a rate of about two hand-to-mouth contacts every tick of the clock from surfaces teeming with bacteria rates in the 20,000s — the number of germs encountered can easily exceed the established averages.

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