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LONDON, October 13, 2017 /PRNewswire/ --

15th October is Global Handwashing Day and according to the Global Handwashing Partnership, raising awareness on proper handwashing has brought a 12% reduction (2005 - 2015) in deaths deriving from diseases caused by a lack of hand-hygiene. Yet even though 85.6% of people globally are aware of the importance of handwashing, only 24.9% wash them properly daily.

To help raise awareness, Sofidel - the leading hygienic and household tissue manufacturing group - has developed "24 hours with your hands", eleven rules covering the importance of washing (and drying) our hands correctly.

Created with Professor Fabrizio Pregliasco, virologist and Medical Director of IRCCS Galeazzi, who comments: "Our hands are a repository for germs. These can be joined by viruses and bacteria that circulate in the air or which we come into contact by touching diverse surfaces." He continues, "How can we defend ourselves? By washing our hands thoroughly, and paying attention to objects- or places- we come into contact with during of the day."

Our hands encounter germs everywhere, some harmless, some dangerous but the best solution remains washing hands vigorously with warm water & soap, for 40-60 seconds, then drying with a disposable paper towel (more hygienic than a household towel). This simple practice eliminates 99% of bacteria.

The Sofidel eleven rules:

1. Snooze but don't rub your eyes

According to a Washington University School of Medicine study, 18% of bed sheets examined had strains of Staphylococcus Aureus, which can cause many diseases; so our hands will likely have bacteria on them when we wake up. Avoid rubbing your eyes & go straight to the bathroom.

2. Shower don't bathe

According to a Department of Microbiology of A&M University in Texas study, bath water can become a breeding ground for bacteria: in 95% of cases these are faecal bacteria, in 81% fungi and in 34% dangerous staphylococci.

3. What not to wear?

Washing above 50° or ironing (average iron temperature is 120°) is sufficient for sanitising fabrics but watch your handbags & shoes. If possible, don't wear shoes inside your house (the soles are bacteria breeding grounds). For bags, avoid the ground, try to hold the strap/handles, and wash them periodically.

4. Public transport: as safe as a handshake

According to Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health research, handrails & seats have thousands of billions of microbes, which surprisingly aren't dangerous for humans but washing your hands when you get to work is advised.

5. In the office: watch the phone

Computers and phones are indispensable, but do you clean them? An American study showed that: a mouse has an average of 260 bacteria per cm2, a keyboard has 511 and the mouthpiece of a telephone has an impressive 3,895 (the office toilet seat only has 8)! To avoid bacteria, simply clean devices with disinfectant.

6. Tackling the public toilet

You don't need to worry about toilet seats, simply avoid one that's visibly dirty. Once you've finished, close the lid (using toilet paper) or leave immediately after flushing to avoid inhaling any faecal bacteria. Then wash your hands & use disposable paper towels (the dryer jet actually increases the number of bacteria on hands up to 40x and can spread contamination). To preserve your hand hygiene, use a paper towel to turn off the tap & open the door.

7. The "germ-free" lunch break

Choose packaged cutlery and if you bring lunch, eat away from your desk (see above), ideally at a cleaned surface - if in doubt, place a clean paper towel down first.

8. Post school: water, soap and a song

Every child has more than one respiratory infection per year during their pre-school years. While it's good for their coping mechanisms, once home, it's good practice to wash hands - make it fun by singing a song or a nursery rhyme that lasts 40/60 seconds (the time needed to eliminate 99% of bacteria).

9. Dinner: wash, dry, don't spread

The fridge can help bacteria "hibernate", prolonging their lifetime, so its important to wash foods separately to prevent cross-contamination, then dry them with paper towels. Don't use the same utensils for different foods because you'll "spread" bacteria but spoons & ladles used to stir food being cooked are fine because the heat kills microbes.

10. After dinner: air dry dishes

This is much more hygienic than using a dish towel: according to research from the University of Arizona, the dish towel has a bacterial load that's 20,000 times greater than the toilet seat!

11.Wash your hands!

The Sofidel Group is one of the leading manufacturer of paper for hygienic and domestic use worldwide.

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