HIBICLENS® Poll Reveals Lapses in Hand Hygiene Habits

Especially Important as National Handshake Day Approaches

Protecting yourself from other's germs.

The handshake dates back to ancient Greece as a symbol of peace and to prove weapons were not being carried. Today, it’s a cultural pleasantry between two people meaning hello, goodbye or an agreement. Considering hands are the primary way germs are passed between people and surfaces, developing a worry-free handshake by taking a few precautions is imperative, especially as National Handshake Day approaches on June 28 and especially since the average person shakes 15,000 hands in their lifetime.1

National Handshake Day encourages people to shake the hand of someone they normally would not, but based on the results of a national poll commissioned by HIBICLENS®, the #1 pharmacist recommended among antibacterial soaps, people should be proactive and take preventative measures as they celebrate National Handshake Day and beyond.

Preventing the spread of harmful germs is something people have become acutely aware of, especially with the most recent and severe flu outbreak.

Janet Carter Smith, Vice President, Retail, Mölnlycke Health Care, the marketers of Hibiclens

“Preventing the spread of harmful germs is something people have become acutely aware of, especially with the most recent and severe flu outbreak,” said Janet Carter Smith, vice president, retail, Mölnlycke Health Care, the marketers of Hibiclens. “Whether it’s wiping down every square inch of gym equipment or an airplane seat and tray table before use or using your foot to flush a public toilet, there is good reason to embrace what is considered germophobic behavior. But by using HIBICLENS to wash your hands, you can have one less worry and you won’t have to take such extreme actions or avoid a kind gesture like shaking hands.”

A recent poll by Hibiclens, a soap with a 40-year history of being used daily in hospitals and health care facilities to help prevent the spread of infection-causing germs, revealed some lapses in germ prevention that can have significant effects on our health and those with whom we come into contact.  

A surprising number of people don’t always wash their hands

The poll of 1,000 American adults showed that a surprising number of people don’t always wash their hands even though they are aware that our hands are the part of the body that pass the most germs. For example:

  • Nearly half, 43 percent of people who admit to picking or blowing their nose, don’t always wash their hands afterward2 and Staph is commonly found in the nose of nearly 50 percent of a given population,3 according to the National Center of Biotechnology Information.
  • 56 percent don’t always wash their hands after covering their mouth when coughing. 2 Serious respiratory illnesses like influenza, whooping cough and SARS are spread through coughing and sneezing.
  • Almost one in six people (18 percent) don’t always wash their hands after going to the bathroom.2 According to the CDC, feces from people and animals is a source of Salmonella, E. coli and the norovirus. One (1) gram of human feces can contain one trillion germs.4

Poll also shows that nearly half don’t shake hands to avoid germs

These statistics may make us think twice about co-workers, friends, gym buddies or strangers we come into hand-to-hand contact with every day. In fact, the Hibiclens poll also revealed that nearly half of the participants say they won’t shake hands with others in order to avoid germs.2

Those in the western states were more likely to avoid shaking hands (52 percent) while those in the southwestern states were least likely to avoid shaking hands (38 percent).2 The poll also revealed some of the creative ways those polled have taken to avoid shaking hands including:

  • acting like they are looking for something in their purse
  • pretending to be sick themselves by faking a cough
  • holding their breath and walking away from people who are sick
  • pretending to receive a phone call to avoid the greeting
  • using an elbow to greet
  • standing away from someone or ignoring them.2

Hand washing is a key to germ prevention and infection control

One of the most effective ways to combat the spread of germs is hand washing.4 Serious bacteria such as staphylococcus (commonly known as staph), which is the most common bacteria found on hands, along with E. coli, influenza and others are easily spread through hands and touch.4 While we might not be able to get everyone else to thoroughly wash their hands, there are simple precautions we can take to protect ourselves from these germs. 

Using antibacterial skin soap adds an extra layer of protection

Using antibacterial skin soap like FDA-approved Hibiclens is one of the ways to protect oneself. It is unique compared to soap because it begins to kill germs on contact while offering protection against MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) and other staph infections.5 Additionally, unlike alcohol-based hand sanitizers that have no on-going antimicrobial effect once they have dried, Hibiclens has a long-lasting defense which protects the skin against germs, bacteria and fungi for up to 24 hours.6 With the average person coming into contact with 300 surfaces every 30 minutes, which exposes them to 840,000 germs, ongoing protection is a plus.7

Hibiclens is widely available nationwide in the first aid aisle of drug stores, mass merchandisers and grocery chains, including CVS, Walgreens, Rite Aid, Target, Walmart, Kroger and Publix. Hibiclens has a 40-year heritage in the hospital setting as a preoperative bathing product and for hand hygiene.

To learn more about Hibiclens, visit hibiclens.com.   

Media Contact:
Betsy Helgager Hughes for Mölnlycke Health Care

About Hibiclens®
Known for its pink color and safe and gentle use, Hibiclens® is an antibacterial soap used in healthcare and home settings that kills germs that potentially can cause disease. It is recommended by physicians for pre- and post-operative care and, for three consecutive years, has been named the #1 Antibacterial Soap by Pharmacy Times. In June 2018, Hibiclens® was selected as the top antibacterial soap in the 2018 Top Recommended Health Products ranking by U.S. News & World Report and Pharmacy Times for the fourth year. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration ruling to end the marketing of certain active ingredients in antibacterial washes does not affect Hibiclens®. More information is available at www.hibiclens.com.

About Mölnlycke® Health Care U.S.
Mölnlycke® Health Care is a world-leading provider of single-use surgical and wound care solutions used by clinicians and patients in all healthcare settings, from hospitals to homes. Established in 1849 in Sweden, Mölnlycke® supplies innovative, high-quality medical products under the trusted brand names of Biogel®, Hibiclens®, Tortoise™, Mepilex®, Mepitel® and Mepiform®. Mölnlycke®'s U.S. Regional Headquarters is located in Norcross, Georgia. More information on HIBICLENS® and all Mölnlycke® Health Care products can be found at www.molnlycke.com; please select the U.S. site.


Firm squeeze and three shakes: Scientists devise formula for the perfect handshake, Daily Mail Reporter, July 16, 2010
OnePoll Hibiclens Survey, 2018
3Warnke, Phillip, et. al. Nasal screening for Staphylococcus aureus – Daily routine with improvement potentials. PLoS One. 2014; 9(2): e89667
Show me the science – Why wash your hands?, CDC, Nov. 18, 2015
5 Molnlycke Health Care Study #061123-150
6 MBT Study No 582-106
7 2012 Tork Report; The Sustainability Gap



Categories: Healthcare

Tags: Health, Healthcare, hygiene, National Handshake Day

About Atlanta Daybook

View Website

Atlanta Daybook helps nonprofits engage local community influencers around stories and events.

Atlanta Daybook
5579 Chamblee Dunwoody Road (Suite 419)
Atlanta, GA 30338
United States