Seventh generation celebrates national hand washing awareness week to prepare for cold and flu season

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It's a behavior learned in preschool, yet chances are, many Americans are not doing the number one thing to prevent infection and illness -- proper hand washing. Because Americans experience an astounding 52 million cases of the common cold each year (The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), Seventh Generation, the nation's leading brand of environmentally responsible household and personal care products, and maker of a new, non-toxic, plant-derived Hand Wash, is encouraging Americans to take part in National Hand Washing Awareness Week (December 5-11, 2010), by learning and adopting proper hand washing techniques, to cut down on the spread of cold and flu germs.

According to the CDC, up to 80% of all infections, including the flu, can be spread by hand contact, but running for antibacterial soaps isn't the only solution to the germ issue. In fact, it can often be counterproductive.

'Many people think that antibacterial soaps are the only way to prevent the spread of cold and flu, but proper hand washing with a regular cleanser is effective too,' said Dr. Alan Greene, practicing pediatrician and bestselling author. 'Some studies suggest that antibacterial soaps may lead to the emergence of bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics1, so I recommend cleansers like Seventh Generation's new Hand Wash, that doesn't contain triclosan, synthetic fragrances or dyes.'

Dr. Greene also suggests taking the following precautions not only in cold and flu season, but year round, to keep your family safe from germs:

  • Wash hands properly: Rub hands together for 15-20 seconds (long enough to sing 'Happy Birthday' twice), to make a rich, foamy lather that covers all hand surfaces.
  • Know when to wash: The most important times to wash hands are after nose-wiping or sneezing, after visiting the rest room, before meals and before food preparation.
  • Watch where you touch: Avoid touching areas of the body where germs can enter, including eyes, nose or mouth.
  • Go for the elbow: Refrain from coughing or sneezing into your hand. Sneeze and cough into your elbow, to prevent hands from becoming contaminated with germs.
  • If you can't wash, sanitize: Hand sanitizers are a convenient way to kill germs on hands when you can't get to a sink. A little dab will kill 99.99 percent of germs without any water or towels.

Seventh Generation recently launched its first Hand Wash that features purely plant-derived cleansing ingredients that deliver a rich, foamy lather, without the use of triclosan, dyes or synthetic fragrances. The non-toxic, dermatologist-tested formula is available in two varieties: fragrance-free Just Clean, and Fresh Citrus, which is scented with essential oils and botanical extracts from orange, grapefruit and mandarin orange.

To learn more about National Hand Washing Awareness Week, please visit www.henrythehand.com. For more information about alternatives to traditional hand washing products or where to purchase Seventh Generation Hand Wash, please visit www.SeventhGeneration.com/Hand-Soap.

About Seventh Generation

Seventh Generation is committed to being the most trusted brand of household and personal-care products for your living home. Our products are healthy solutions for the air, surfaces, fabrics, pets and people within your home -- and for the community and environment outside of it. Seventh Generation also offers baby products that are safe for your children and the planet.

The company derives its name from the Great Law of the Iroquois Confederacy that states, 'In our every deliberation, we must consider the impact of our decisions on the next seven generations.' Every time you use a Seventh Generation product you are making a difference by saving natural resources, reducing pollution, and making the world a better place for this and the next seven generations.

For information on Seventh Generation cleaning, paper, baby and feminine personal care products, to find store locations, and explore the company's website visit www.seventhgeneration.com. To read more about Seventh Generation's corporate responsibility, visit the Corporate Consciousness report at: http://www.7genreport.com.

1 Aiello et al: Consumer antibacterial soaps: effective or just risky? Clin Infect Dis, 2007

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