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Global Handwashing Day: RSPH Asks “How often do you wash your hands?”


October 15, 2009, Press Dispensary. As the UK watches for the next wave of Swine Flu, The Royal Society for Public Health ( believes that, on Global Handwashing Day, October 15th, we are still complacent about our standards of hygiene.

The advice to Catch It. Bin It. Kill It. has been widely publicised by the Department of Health, as the single most reliable way to avoid the spread of the H1N1 strain of flu this winter. The flu virus can live on hard surfaces for up to 24 hours and can be picked up on your hands and spread to other surfaces that you touch. Yet the RSPH believes that few adults, and even fewer children, follow the simple advice to wash and dry their hands properly.

Professor Richard Parish, Chief Executive of RSPH comments: “We are currently asking our members and visitors to our website to tell us whether they follow this simple advice. We suspect that very many do not.”

He adds “We know that hand washing and drying could prevent up to half of all acute respiratory infections in this country, and that in turn could save up to £80 million on annual GP consultations. ”

Poor hygiene practices mean that millions of people are harbouring germs on their hands because they have not washed and dried their hands properly after sneezing, coughing or blowing their nose. These germs can be spread to other people by shaking hands, or to surfaces which other people touch, such as door handles, telephones or keyboards. Wet hands pick up more germs than dry ones, and transfer them more readily, so drying hands is just as important as washing them with soap and hot water.

To take part in our survey, and to find more information about the importance of hand hygiene visit the RSPH website

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Notes for editors
 Global Handwashing Day (October 15th) was initiated in 2008 by the Global Public-Private Partnership for Handwashing with Soap. Global Handwashing Day is endorsed by a wide array of governments, international institutions, civil society organisations, NGOs, private companies and individuals around the globe (
 The Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) is an independent, multi-disciplinary organisation, dedicated to the promotion and protection of collective human health and wellbeing. Through advocacy, mediation, empowerment, knowledge and practice we advise on policy development, provide education and training services, encourage scientific research, disseminate information and certify products, training centres and processes.
 For more information about developments in hand drying technology, and RSPH accreditation of the Dyson Airblade™, download our fact sheet: RSPH hand drying fact sheet
 The RSPH enjoys patronage of Her Majesty the Queen
 The RSPH is a registered charity
 The RSPH is the oldest public health body in the world, with over 150 years experience in protecting and promoting public health.

For further information, please contact:
Anna Zilnyk, Royal Society for Public Health
Tel: 020 3177 1624

Media contacts

Anna Zilnyk
Tel: 020 3177 1624

swine flu hygiene health Global Handwashing Day


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