Fifty-four percent of people around the world reported good personal hygiene, survey finds; hygiene habits varied by profession, with homemakers reporting the highest level of personal hygiene at 64.5%

Michelle Rivera

Michelle Rivera

PARSIPPANY, New Jersey , October 14, 2011 (press release) – October marks the start of this year's cold and flu season. It is important to note that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimate 15-60 million Americans, or 5-20 percent of the U.S. population(1), will contract the flu this year. Also according to the CDC, nearly 22 million schools days are lost each year to the common cold alone.(2) Realizing the role of good hygiene in helping to prevent the spread of germs, the Global Hygiene Council has issued data from the international LYSOL® HABIT Study (Hygiene: Attitudes, Behavior, Insight and Traits) that shows certain personality traits, good manners and occupational status appear to have a beneficial effect on personal and household hygiene practices, as well as overall wellness. (3)

According to the study, 54 percent of people surveyed globally reported good personal hygiene. Researchers uncovered several novel findings that influenced hygiene scores, including the following:

* Conscientious or nervous personality types reported experiencing 10 percent fewer colds than others.
* Those with good manners, such as covering their mouths when sneezing, were almost two-and-a-half times more likely to have good health.
* Hygiene habits varied by profession, with homemakers reporting the highest level of personal hygiene (64.5 percent) and students reporting the worst (44.5 percent).(3)

"Results of this study should empower Americans to improve or maintain their personal and household hygiene in order to help break the chain of transmission," said Professor John Oxford, Chairman of the Hygiene Council and Professor of Virology at St. Barts and The London School of Dentistry. "The CDC urges all of us to practice certain health habits to help prevent the flu, including frequent hand-washing and cleaning and disinfecting commonly touched surfaces when someone in your household is sick."(4)

LYSOL® supports CDC recommendations on flu prevention by offering a full range of products to help keep families healthy during flu season. The LYSOL® Healthy Touch™ No-Touch Hand Soap System helps stop the spread of harmful germs by automatically sensing hands and dispensing antibacterial soap; and LYSOL® Disinfectant Spray and Disinfecting Wipes kill bacteria and viruses on commonly touched surfaces. In addition, LYSOL® realizes the best way to prevent seasonal flu is to get vaccinated, and LYSOL® is proud to once again offer flu shot recipients a $5 rebate through its website by visiting

The LYSOL® HABIT study broke down hygiene practices by country in an effort to highlight where certain behaviors are more prevalent. While the U.S. reported high levels of frequent hand-washing (a personal hygiene habit), its rank for household hygiene fell into the bottom half against other countries. Household hygiene scores were based on such factors as frequency of surface cleaning, tidiness and having an established house cleaning routine.(3)

"Adopting good hygiene habits is a responsibility we all share. It is important for families to integrate regular hygiene practices at home, school and work throughout the year to keep germs from spreading, especially during cold and flu season," said Dr. Laura A Jana, board-certified pediatrician and award-winning parenting book author.

For further information, please visit:

* Hygiene Council:
* CDC's Ounce of Prevention Campaign:
* CDC's "The Flu: A Guide for Parents":


The research study, which constitutes the largest hygiene survey ever to characterize the key determinants of personal and household hygiene behaviors that affect health cross-culturally; to pinpoint the key factors in different personalities and settings that determine hygiene behavior, and highlight those that can be modified to improve health. The study was conducted from January to March 2011 by the Hygiene Council.

It was a strictly questionnaire-based study, with 1,000 participants in each of 12 countries (12,000 total participants) responding to 130 questions on hand-washing, surface cleaning and food preparation, handling and storage techniques, as well as their own history of health problems and demographics. The countries involved were the UK, US, Canada, France, Germany, South Africa, Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, Australia, Brazil, China and India.

Data was primarily collected through responses to web-based questionnaires. To ensure a study sample truly representative of the population, telephone calls and face-to-face interviews were conducted in some markets (South Africa, Middle East, Malaysia, Brazil, China, and India) to ensure the lower socioeconomic demographic was adequately captured. Standard multivariate statistical analyses were performed on the resulting datasets to determine how personality variation, hygiene practices, socio-economic factors and infectious disease outcomes inter-relate.

The Global Hygiene Council

The Hygiene Council is an initiative bringing together 17 leading global experts in the field of microbiology, virology, infectious diseases, immunology, and public health to formulate realistic and practical recommendations on simple hygiene measures to help the public improve levels of hygiene in the home and community and, in turn, help to prevent the spread of all kinds of infections.

The Hygiene Council members include:

* Chairperson
o Professor John Oxford, Professor of Virology at St Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry, UK (Chair)

* U.S. Researchers
o Professor Philip M. Tierno, Director Clinical Microbiology and Immunology, New York University Langone Medical Center, Clinical Professor of Microbiology and Pathology, New York University School of Medicine, USA
o Dr. Laura A Jana, Board-certified pediatrician and parenting expert, USA

The Hygiene Council is supported by an unrestricted educational grant from Reckitt Benckiser.

About LYSOL® / Reckitt Benckiser

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

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