In response to recent news that the British Olympic Association (BOA)'s chief medical officer is advising British athletes to avoid shaking hands at the Olympic Summer Games to prevent the spread of germs, GOJO Industries, Inc., the maker and global distributor of PURELL® hand sanitizer, is urging the International Olympic Committee to equip athletes, coaches and the entire village with hand sanitizer at the 2012 Games in London.
The handshake is perhaps the most common gesture of greeting and agreement in the modern world not to mention an international symbol of good sportsmanship. The PURELL brand wants to show the world that proper hand hygiene can help stop the spread of illness-causing germs and keep the handshake alive.
"While there is a certain charm to a friendly fist bump, we think the spirit of competition is best personified with a simple handshake," says Kathleen Hooker, marketing director for the PURELL Consumer Business. "There is no reason to refuse a handshake and miss out on this opportunity for camaraderie, or risk offending a fellow athlete. For this reason, we would like to encourage all of the athletes who are competing to embrace this age-old tradition and respectfully greet their competitors with a friendly handshake."
While concerns about shaking hands at the Summer Games is surprising, it is consistent with the results of a U.S.-based survey commissioned by the PURELL brand in 2010 which revealed that the handshake, a time-honored social institution, is at risk. In fact, 2 in 5 American adults (nearly 92 million people) have hesitated to shake hands with someone because they were afraid of germs.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), proper hand hygiene is the single best way to prevent infection and illness. When soap and water are not available, the use of alcohol-based hand sanitizers is recommended to reduce the spread of germs that may cause illness, especially after shaking hands and before touching your face.