New research released by Palmolive reveals Aussie's hygiene habits are not up to scratch, with nearly 3 in 5 of Aussies spending less than the recommended twenty seconds on lathering their hands. Aussie kids are picking up these bad habits too, with over three in five (62%) aged three to twelve not washing their hands for the recommended time either according to their parents.
In the lead up to Global Handwashing day on 15th October, Palmolive's Clean Hands, Good Health program is calling for Aussies to lather up for good health and for good reason. 83% of Aussie kids come into contact with germ-ridden surfaces several times a week – this includes play equipment, public transport and smart devices(which can carry more germs than a toilet seat!).
Handwashing with soap and water is one of the most effective ways to combat the spread of germs, yet one in six people only -wash' their hands with a quick rinse of cold running water and two in five people do not wash their hands after sneezing, coughing or blowing their nose.
With music and education going hand in hand, Palmolive has created a new educational music video featuring Aussie kids to coincide with Global Handwashing Day and to help instill good habits. As part of the Palmolive Clean Hands, Good Health program, the video will be used in addition to free educational kits, which are distributed to pre-schools throughout the year and an educational website that makes learning fun to teach kids about healthy hand hygiene.
Yvonne Hsu, Marketing Director of Colgate-Palmolive Australia, said 'Palmolive's Clean Hands, Good Health has already reached more than 1.8 million pre-school children and their families in Australia and New Zealand since its launch in 2009."
'The aim of the program is to educate children about the importance of handwashing and provide healthy habits for life. We're excited to release the Clean Hands, Good Health video, it's a fun – and pretty cute – way of getting the message out there to even more kids. " Yvonne Hsu said.
Sydney General Practitioner and mum of three, Dr Rachelle Silver, said 'Kids will be kids and it is inevitable that they will play in the dirt and come into contact with a lot of germs throughout their day. Learning good hygiene habits can significantly reduce the number of illnesses and infections our kids are exposed to, and on a larger scale, save lives, by cutting diarrhea and acute respiratory infections."
Question: What do you hope to achieve for Global Handwashing Day?
Dr Rachelle Silver: GHWD is a global initiative that is supported by Palmolive. The aim of Global Handwashing Day is to raise awareness around how a simple hand wash can help prevent disease and potentially, save lives.
Question: Did the results of the Palmolive's Clean Hands survey surprise you?
Dr Rachelle Silver: It did! I was surprised to hear that 9 out of 10 Australians weren't aware of how long you are meant to wash your hands for. Although Clean Hands, Good Health has been around now for a few years, the survey results prove that further education is needed, not just for kids, but for their parents as well.
Question: Can you share the best technique for hand washing?
Dr Rachelle Silver: It's really quite simple, but many people cut corners! It's important to use soap and thoroughly lather – just a quick rinse won't cut it!
Question: How long should we be washing our hands for?
Dr Rachelle Silver: Palmolive recommends you lather for 20 seconds with soap, and rinse – making the whole process around 30 seconds.
Question: What does correct hand washing prevent?
Dr Rachelle Silver: Proper hand washing maintains general hygiene and prevents the spread of germs, which as we know, kids come into contact with quite frequently! More seriously, communicable and potentially life-threatening diseases such as diarrhoea can be easily prevented by good hand washing habits.
Question: How can we know if we are washing our hands correctly?
Dr Rachelle Silver: There are plenty of resources available for both teachers and parents – the Clean Hands, Good Health website is a great source of info. There's interactive games on their for the kids too. Visit: http://palmolivecleanhands.com.au
Question: What are the good hygiene habits you hope to pass onto your children?
Dr Rachelle Silver: We all know kids are going to be kids, but as parents, the best way to teach them is to lead by example. So that means that means washing your hands when doing any of the following things – after playing with pets, after sneezing or blowing your nose, after going to the toilet, after coming in from outside and before eating or touching food.
Question: What tips do you have for parents teaching their kids about hand washing?
Dr Rachelle Silver: Palmolive actually have created a song called 'Handy the Hand Washing Song' that kids can learn, which helps to reinforce the hand washing message – this is a fun and easy way to remember the proper hand washing steps (soap and water, bubbles, rub, rinse, dry) and you'll have fun singing along together to it!
Interview by Brooke Hunter