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Watch Out For Your Co-Workers This Cold-and-Flu Season

Stocks in this article: KMB

ROSWELL, Ga., Sept. 24, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Cold-and-flu season is notoriously unpredictable, but there's one thing you can count on: People will get sick. And when they do, many will bring their germs to work, putting others at risk. 

Why? They feel they're "essential" or have too much on their plates. A survey released today by Kimberly-Clark Professional found that 59 percent of people go to work when they're sick. Three in 10 said it was because they were too important to the business operation, which prompts the question: Are their germs essential too?

A cough, a sneeze, an unwashed hand touching an elevator button, stair railing, ATM machine or other "hot spot" in an office or other location – that's all it takes to spread cold and flu germs. Viruses on surfaces like sink faucets and door handles can spread rapidly, especially in public places, and studies have shown that workers are exposed to illness-causing bacteria right in their own break rooms, as well as elsewhere around the office.

While you may not be able to change the behavior of others, there are things you can do to protect yourself. Chief among them is to wash, wipe and sanitize. That message appears to be getting through. According to the survey:

  • 79 percent wash their hands after coming in contact with a sick colleague.
  • 97 percent wash their hands after using the restroom as a way to avoid getting sick.
  • 81 percent use a hand sanitizer or disinfecting wipes.
  • 84 percent said the top motivator for using products to avoid colds and the flu was easy access.

"More than one third of people say they are germ anxious and want to take steps to protect themselves against other people's germs," said Elane Stock, President, Kimberly-Clark Professional. "That's why it's crucial for people to adopt the Hygienify! wash, wipe, sanitize protocol – three easy steps that reduce the chance of infection from colds and flu in the workplace by about 80 percent."[1]     

That's a significant benefit when you consider that 63 percent of respondents said they or a family member had been sick in the six months prior to the survey.

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