Are you doing enough to stay protected against germs?

magnifing glass and hands

When it comes to avoiding germs, some people take it to an extreme. They are fastidious about using a paper towel to avoid touching the door in a public bathroom, wipe down every square inch of an airplane seat and can hardly go 15 minutes without re-sanitizing their hands. Some habits, like using your foot to flush the handle on a toilet, or giving a fist-bump instead of a handshake, may make good sense. The fact is there are good reasons to avoid germs and embrace the habits of a germaphobe.

Take, for example, shaking hands. It may seem harmless, but serious bacteria such as staphylococcus (commonly known as staph), E. coli and others easily spread with simple hand-to-hand contact.

Whether at home, work or in a public place, washing hands is considered one of the most effective ways to prevent bacteria and viruses from spreading, and consequently, preventing illness or infection.

Unfortunately, according to a recent survey commissioned by Hibiclens, maker of the antibacterial soap originally only used by surgeons and health professionals, there’s no shortage of people who don’t wash their hands. It’s likely that at one point or another, despite your best hygienic efforts, you’ll come in contact with someone who doesn't properly wash. According to the survey of 1,000 American adults:

* 56 percent don’t always wash their hands after covering their mouth when coughing. Serious respiratory illnesses like influenza, whooping cough and SARS are spread through coughing and sneezing.

* Almost one in six people (18 percent) don’t always wash their hands after going to the bathroom. According to the CDC, feces from people and animals is a source of Salmonella, E. coli, and the norovirus. One gram of human feces can contain one trillion germs.

* Nearly half, 49 percent of people, don’t always wash their hands after blowing or picking their nose, a place where staph is commonly found in nearly 50 percent of a given population, according to the National Center of Biotechnology Information.

One less thing to worry about

These aren’t comforting statistics. And they will probably make you think twice about your co-workers, friends and those strangers you meet at a conference or sit next to on a bus or plane.

National Handshake Day, which falls on June 28, might as well be renamed national germ-spreading day!

However, the good news is that Hibiclens, the same antibacterial soap used for over 40 years in hospitals and given to patients to reduce the chance of infection before surgery and afterwards to continue to keep the incision site free of germs that can cause infection, is now a germ-fighting solution available to everyone. Found in the first aid aisle in your favorite retailer, it is also the number one pharmacist-recommended antibacterial soap.

What makes Hibiclens unique is that it has a clinically proven, persistent effect to give up to 24 hours of active protection that kills nearly 100 different types of germs, bacteria and viruses. It’s also proven safe and effective and is gentle enough for everyday use and even for parents to use on their children.

In day-to-day terms, this means that you’ll have one less thing to worry about. Whether it’s shaking hands, traveling, going to a conference, sending your children back to school or college, riding public transportation and everywhere else, the proven 24-hour additional active protection shields you like a pair of invisible gloves while still washing your hands as usual.

While you might not be able to get everyone else to thoroughly wash their hands, there are simple precautions you can take to keep you and your family protected from these germs. Washing with Hibiclens gives you the peace of mind that, even though others may not be washing properly, you'll have a solid, proven defense against infections and infection-carrying germs. Remember, the fight against infection begins at home.

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