Keep Unwanted ‘Visitors’ Away During Cold & Flu Season

Correcting Misperceptions About Hand Washing is Key to Locking Them Out

With the holidays and cold and flu season around the corner, people can expect more than their usual share of visitors and germs. This impacts everyone, and particularly those who undergo surgery at the end of the year. A recent survey, commissioned by Mölnlycke Health Care, makers of Hibiclens®, indicates there are misperceptions about how we can protect ourselves against germs, bacteria and viruses.

Consider this — the average person comes into contact with 300 surfaces every 30 minutes, potentially contacting 840,000 germs.1 This is during normal, non-flu season times. Hand washing is cited as one of the most important self-care actions to take to kill germs and prevent infection.2

Mölnlycke’s survey results showed misperceptions about it. In fact, 86 percent of respondents believed they should wash their hands for a minimum of 60 seconds.3 Not true — although extra scrubbing can’t hurt and proper hand washing techniques and use of soap is encouraged, actually only 20 seconds is needed in order for hand washing to be effective, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

“It’s important to make those seconds count,” according to Pamala S. Marquess, Pharm.D., East Marietta Drugs chain store owner in Atlanta. “Over the holidays we get more visits from friends and family, extending the reach of germs at home and at work. Many pharmacists recommend an extra layer of protection by using antibacterial soap when hand washing. This is especially critical for patients and their caregivers after surgery to help kill harmful bacteria and germs, including staph and MRSA, two leading bacteria that can cause surgical site infections.”

The survey results also indicated that infection was a top concern after surgery by the respondents having surgery or caring for recovering patients (69%), while one in three, who have actually had surgery, didn’t realize they could use antibacterial soap for handwashing and general skin cleansing to kill germs that potentially cause infections before surgery or after returning home.

For those looking for extra protection beyond soap and water, Marquess recommends using the top pharmacist-recommended antibacterial soap. “In addition to being FDA-approved, Hibiclens is unique compared to soap because it kills germs on contact and has 4% CHG (chlorhexidine gluconate), an active ingredient that bonds with the skin and continues to kill microorganisms even after washing,” she said. “It’s strong and effective enough to kill germs like staph and MRSA, yet safe and gentle enough for everyday use by the entire family, and it can protect you from germs for up to 24 hours.4,5

With the rise in outpatient surgeries at the end of the year and shorter hospital stays, patients are heading home during the critical days after surgery. “Clean hands and strictly following pre- and post-surgery infection-prevention routines are essential to stopping germs from spreading, especially when you are caring for a recovering patient,” said Janet Carter Smith, Vice President, Retail, Mölnlycke Health Care. “We know more people are having to deliver their own at-home, post-operative care, and we want to be a part of their infection prevention plan.”

For the third year in a row, Hibiclens® earned the #1 Pharmacist Recommended Antibacterial Soap seal and status by Pharmacy Times and U.S. News & World Report. Although it’s been known among professionals in hospital environments for more than 40 years, it’s now available over the counter at your local retail store in the first-aid aisle.