ATLANTA, Feb. 9, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- The Global Hygiene Council, a group of leading health and hygiene experts from around the world, convened in collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to discuss how proper hygiene plays a critical role in preventing the spread of illness and improving health around the world. In particular, the Council focused on topics such as the emergence of antibiotic resistance, the re-emergence of illness-causing pathogens, and recent global reactions to pandemics, such as H1N1. The meeting, held in Atlanta, coincided with cold and flu season's peak, when typically half of all flu cases are reported in the U.S.(1).
While the world is currently considered to be in a "post-pandemic" period following the 2009 outbreak of H1N1, the first global influenza pandemic in 40 years(2), it is estimated that 5 percent – 20 percent of Americans will still contract the flu(3). And while another pandemic is somewhat unlikely, flu viruses are constantly changing, difficult to predict and recent data suggests that flu incidence amongst children (pediatrics) has been higher than the last five flu seasons(4). Therefore, hygiene experts warn that the best course of action is to take preventive measures.
Hygiene Council members, pediatrician Dr. Laura Jana and Professor John Oxford, chairman of the Hygiene Council and Professor of Virology at Barts and the London School of Medicine and Dentistry, recommend these three simple steps to keep your family protected:
- Get vaccinated: The yearly flu vaccine is the first and most important step in protecting against flu viruses. Everyone six months of age and older should get vaccinated(5).
- Wash your hands: Wash your hands often with soap and water. When someone in your home is sick, hand washing is one of the best ways to break the chain of infection. The LYSOL® Healthy Touch No-Touch automatic hand soap system is a great way to wash hands as it dispenses soap automatically, which helps consumers avoid touching a germy soap pump.
- Disinfect surfaces: A recent study suggests that over 31 percent of general influenza infections may have been contracted through a contaminated surface(6). Remember to regularly disinfect countertops and other frequently touched surfaces – doorknobs, faucets – because the flu virus can live on surfaces for up to 48 hours. Disinfectant products, such as LYSOL Disinfectant Spray or LYSOL Disinfecting Wipes help stop the spread of germs. For more information about surface disinfection, visit: http://www.cdc.gov/ounceofprevention/
If you do happen to get the flu, CDC recommends taking anti-viral drugs as prescribed by a doctor(7). Drugs can treat your illness. Antiviral drugs can make illness milder and shorten the time you are sick. They may also prevent serious flu complications.
About The Hygiene Council
The Hygiene Council is comprised of 15 leading global experts in the field of microbiology, virology, infectious diseases, immunology and public health who formulate recommendations on how the public can improve hygiene in their home and community to prevent the spread of infections. The annual two day meeting, "Hygiene: Changing Behavior-Protecting Health," was held on February 8 and 9, 2011. The Hygiene Council is funded by an educational grant from Reckitt Benckiser, makers of Lysol brand products. For more information, visit www.hygienecouncil.com
About LYSOL® / Reckitt Benckiser, LLC.
Reckitt Benckiser (RB) is a world leader in household, health and personal care. It is a FTSE top 25 company and since 2000, net revenues have doubled and the market cap has quadrupled. Today it is the global No 1 or No 2 in the majority of its fast-growing categories, driven by an exceptional rate of innovation – typically about 35 percent of net revenue comes from innovations launched in the prior three years. It has a strong portfolio led by 19 global powerbrands which are: Finish, Lysol, Dettol, Vanish, Woolite, Durex, Calgon, Airwick, Harpic, Bang, Mortein, Veet, Nurofen, Clearasil, Strepsils Gaviscon, Mucinex, Scholl and French's, and they account for 70% of net revenue. RB people are at the heart of the company's success. They have an intense drive for progress and action and a desire to outperform wherever they focus, including in CSR where the company has the most ambitious corporate responsibility program in the industry through its Carbon 20 initiative. Headquartered in the United Kingdom, the company employs about 25,000 people worldwide, with operations in over 60 countries and sales in almost 200 countries. For more information, please visit www.RB.com.
(4) SDI FAN, © 2010 (based on average total weekly incidents of affected population for cough, cold, and flu-like illness)
(6) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Seasonal and 2010 H1N1 Flu: A Guide for Parents