Hands up, men - are you clean?

04:08, Jul 05 2012
sneeze stand
A survey has highlighted that men are more likely to spread the flu than women.

With flu season in full swing a nationwide survey has revealed up to half of all Kiwis don't wash their hands after sneezing.

Men are the main culprits, being twice as likely to sneeze and leave than women.

"Oh yes, you see them just wiping their hands on their trousers," New Plymouth woman Pamela McCarthy said yesterday, just minutes after washing her hands.

"They don't all carry hankies these days."

Despite admitting to a frequent handwashing habit and being the recipient of a flu jab this season, she credited a childhood of unwashed hands for her healthy immunity.

"We need to get immunity. I am a great one for that. Let the kids play on the ground and in the mud. They get immune.


"I did that myself as a kid. We ate things all along the hedgerow.

"We got tough that way," she said.

New Plymouth father of four Stuart Johnson said he washed his hands if he was near a sink but, like many people, wasn't always near a sink.

Despite the porcelain proximity issue Mr Johnson said he was so far "flu free" just like his kids.

"We teach them to sneeze into their elbow," he explained.

Rhys King, of Mt Maunganui, was another elbow sneezer and also free of the flu. His hand washing habits depended on whether he was home or not.

But not Bert Gander.

Safe at home or out and about, Mr Gander said he always washed his hands after he sneezed.

"Well I have got the flu, haven't I. I don't want to spread any more germs around, do I," he said, with a warning to keep a healthy distance from his person.

The results of the survey, undertaken by cleaning product brand Dettol, found a third of the 303 asked had come down with a cold or flu in the last year.

More than half went to work rather than staying at home to recover.

Up to 400 deaths each year are related to influenza with one in five people being affected by the virus.

Last month Taranaki's medical officer of health Greg Simmons said influenza could knock people out for seven to 10 days: "It's important that people stay home until they are completely recovered."


A survey of 303 peopleby cleaning product brand Dettol has lifted the lidon New Zealanders' cold and flu habits.

Men are 2.5 times more likely than women to get a "sweat on" to get rid of a cold.

Two thirds of women wash their hands after blowing their nose, coughing or sneezing.

Just 40 per cent of men do the same.

One third of Kiwis came down with the cold or flu last year.

Just over half of those people continued to go to work when sick.

Approximately 400 deaths per year are related to influenza.

Taranaki Daily News