Nationwide Survey Reports that Mothers View Cleaning Homes and Toys as Essential to Preventing Colds and Flu

WASHINGTON -- A newly released national survey of mothers found that keeping their homes clean was the best means of protecting their families from the germs that cause colds and flu. Likewise, there is a general recognition that toys can be a significant

source of germs. The Alliance for Consumer Education's (ACE) nationwide Germ Study examined mothers' overall awareness of how germs that cause colds and flu are spread. It then assessed their views as to the most effective means of preventing and/or containing colds and flu. This is the second such survey conducted by ACE; the first was completed in 2005. While many of the overall findings in the two surveys were similar, there were some stark differences.

For example, in the 2007 survey 32 percent of respondents felt that keeping their house clean was the most effective means of protecting against colds and flu. This was the No. 1 response. In 2005, only 23 percent of respondents felt home cleaning was the best means of protection against colds and flu. At the same time, 56 percent of the 2007 respondents said they clean the surface of their children's toys on a weekly basis. In contrast, only 44 percent of 2005 respondents cleaned their children's toys so regularly.

"The ACE 2007 Germs survey clearly illustrates that mothers understand the threat of exposure to those germs that can cause colds and flu and are taking steps to minimize that threat and protect their families," said Joseph M. Healy, chairman of the board of the Alliance for Consumer Education. "One of the simplest, most effective things that people can do to minimize the risks from germs is to frequently wash their hands and clean their homes and places of work on a regular basis. It is gratifying to see that the percentage of moms who recognize the importance of home cleaning continues to rise. At the same time, still more consumer education needs to be done to continue raising overall awareness of the importance of home cleaning."

Other findings from the 2007 Germ Study include the fact that 92 percent of mothers gave themselves either an "A" or "B" with regard to teaching germ control. At the same time, 42 percent of mothers believe that their children will get sick no matter what they do, up from 30 percent in 2005. When their children do get sick, 62 percent of mothers gave their kids some type of home remedy, such as chicken soup, up from 44 percent in 2005.

Source: Alliance for Consumer Education (ACE)

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