Voice 1: We all know that we should wash our hands several times a day to help prevent the spreading of germs. But how many of us are really conscientious about this? Hopefully you wash your hands when they are dirty or when you’ve been to the loo. But how many of us wash our hands at any other times?
Voice 2: Germs just love living on human hands. And when hands touch other hands, or surfaces, the germs get transferred causing diseases as they go from place to place.
Voice 1: The University of Southampton in Britain has come up with absolute proof that washing hands cuts down flu, colds, breathing diseases and tummy problems. They have used an interesting and inventive web-based programme called Primit to gather the evidence.
Voice 2: Primit is a computer programme that does one simple thing: it encourages frequent hand-washing to help cut down the number of infections we pass on to other people we come across during the day.
Voice 1: Do people need a machine to tell them that frequent hand-washing cuts down disease? It would seem so. Primit is divided into four weekly sessions that present simple medical evidence about how germs are passed on. It monitors hand-washing behaviour and techniques, and asks users to provide detailed feedback about how and when they wash their hands.
Voice 2: During the winters of 2011, 12 and 13, researchers at Southampton University studied together more than twenty thousand volunteers aged over eighteen from 334 different areas of Britain.
Voice 1: Some individuals were given access to the Primit site, and some were not. It was as simple as that. Participants were studied over sixteen weeks, and given questionnaires to measure frequency and symptoms of respiratory disease and whether other household members had been ill.
Voice 2: After sixteen weeks, 51 per cent of the Primit group reported at least one respiratory infection compared with 59 per cent from the non-Primit control group. The risk of catching a flu related infection was 20 per cent lower in the Primit group and visits to the doctor and use of antibiotics were between 10 and 15 percent lower than with the people who were not registered with the web programme.
Voice 1: Influenza is not just a disease that can spread quickly in families, schools and the workplace. It can also devastate complete populations, as past epidemics have shown. The Southampton study should give us all something to think about.
Voice 2: During the colds and flu season, wash your hands frequently and then wash them again. Not only do clean hands feel good, germs don't like them as breeding grounds. Clean your hand! You owe that to yourself and everyone around you.