National Clean Hands Month Aims to Reduce Absenteeism Due to the Common Cold

ATLANTA -- The common cold is responsible for some 22 million lost school days each year in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Yet the simple act of handwashing can dramatically reduce the spread of infection and the number of sick days, the CDC says.

To help kids learn about proper handwashing at an early age, September has been designated Clean Hands Month. The initiative is sponsored by Georgia-Pacific, the maker of Sparkle paper towels.

The Clean Hands Month program, to be presented at elementary schools in Chicago, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., Atlanta and Nashville, includes handwashing demonstrations, story time and an interactive "germy" skit. Governors and mayors around the country are issuing 'National Clean Hands Month' proclamations and Georgia-Pacific has donated thousands of educational materials for the cause.

Parents and teachers can go online to and download free supplementary materials, including handwashing tips and lesson plans produced in conjunction with the National Association of School Nurses. A free copy of the Little Golden Book, Mike's Dirty, Yucky, Icky, Sticky Adventure is also available by calling 1-877-GPCLEAN or by visiting the Web site.

"We at Georgia-Pacific Corporation are pleased to work with schools throughout the country on Clean Hands Month," said Mike Taylor, Sparkle senior brand manager. "With the support of state and city boards of education and local retailers, we can reach thousands of schoolchildren with important hygiene messages and help reduce the number of missed school days from colds."

The Georgia-Pacific Health Smart Institute advocates ways to improve personal hygiene practices, including the use of disposable paper products. The Institute is guided by an advisory board of experts in hygiene, infectious disease prevention and control, food-borne pathogens and microbiology. For more information, visit

Source: PRNewswire