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ATLANTA -- The common cold is responsible for an estimated 22 million lost school days per year in the United States according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). To help lower these alarming statistics, Georgia-Pacific Corporation and the Georgia-Pacific Health Smart Institute today announced the national Clean Hands Month program to teach young students about the importance of proper handwashing and hygiene. According to theCDC, proper handwashing is the single most important means of preventing the spread of infection.
Country music artist Lee Ann Womack has been named "Ambassador of Clean Hands" to help kick off the program. "As a mother of two, I am passionate about keeping my children healthy," said Womack, whose new MCA Records Nashville album, "Something Worth Leaving Behind," hit stores yesterday. "I'm excited about taking part in the Clean Hands Month program, which teaches children simple hygiene lessons at an early age. This initiative will help kids grow up healthy and smart."
As part of the Clean Hands program, children learn about personal hygiene by participating in handwashing demonstrations, story time and an interactive "germy" skit. Parents and educators can go online to http://www.gp.com/cleanhands, 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 (877) GPCLEAN or visiting the Web site.
In September, the Clean Hands Month program will tour cities across the U.S., including Chicago, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., Atlanta and Nashville. Governors and mayors around the country are issuing 'National Clean Hands Month' proclamations as Sparkle paper towels donates thousands of books, handwashing tips and other educational materials to parents, children and school nurses.
"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're able to 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 is an educational initiative dedicated to evaluating and facilitating 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 http://www.gphealthsmart.com/.