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  • Writer's pictureCarol Ruth Weber

Illness Germ Prevention Tips: Interview with Purell Scientist Dr. Jim Arbogast

As colds, allergies and stomach bugs arrive with the change of seasons and the new school year, it is most important to be ready to practice illness germ prevention to avoid illness. Yes, the flu vaccine may help but it is also vital to be proactive in fighting germs and illnesses with good sanitizing habits.

Jim Arbogast, a PH.D. scientist with Purell is working the front lines in the defense against the attacking germs that lead to illnesses.

Illness Germ Prevention Begins with Hygiene

Scientist Jim Arbogast is the professional on illness germ prevention by creating expert avenues to perform good hand hygiene. As Vice President of Hygiene Science and Public Health Alliances at GOJO Industries, the parent company of Purell, Arbogast works hands-on in creating products to specifically fight germs.

Illness Germ Prevention Tips: Interview with Purell Scientist Dr. Jim Arbogast

With over 20 years of experience developing products, with an emphasis on hand hygiene products for more than a decade, he understands the importance of fighting off germs to stay healthy:

"Dr. Arbogast has been directly involved in the formulation and national launch of hundreds of products in the laundry, air freshening, hair care, skin care, and hand hygiene markets. Under his leadership, the Skin Care Science team has conducted numerous field outcome studies with hand hygiene products to determine their real-world effect on skin condition and infection related rates, as well as microbiology, clinical studies, analytical chemistry, drug stability and new product development."

Illness Germ Prevention Tips Revealed in Interview

Purell is now a widely well-known hand sanitizer. Pumps are seen in many locations such as hospitals, grocery stores, hotels, cruise ships to name just a few. Most moms have the sanitizer on hand to keep family hands clean in the fight against getting sick.

Who better than Arbogast to speak to in order to gain advice in fighting germs. In an interview with the GOJO scientist, he reveals helpful information to decrease the spread of germs that cause infection and sickness.

Carol Ruth Weber: What is the number one thing people can do to fight getting sick?

Jim Arbogast: Practicing hand hygiene, especially at a critical moment when you are at risk, such as in the washroom and before eating, is most important. Alcohol-based sanitizers, such as Purell, as well as hand washing, are equally effective. GOJO has been doing studies, especially with elementary schools, leading up to findings; 20 percent reduction in germs just by using Purell, and a 50 percent reduction with the addition of education and hand washing. Most importantly, in the fight to stay healthy, is to make sure that when one is around and caring for ill people that sanitizing hands is very critical. After you sneeze or cough into hands, make sure to perform hand hygiene. When touching grocery carts, raw foods, and places others have touched, it is most necessary to clean hands to prevent illness.

CRW: How should one wash their hands?

JA: I recommend washing hands 15 to 20 seconds, covering the hands fully and rubbing the lather in before rinsing completely. Where food is being handled, 20 seconds is recommended. A good rule when teaching children about hand washing is that the entire hand-washing process should take at least 20 seconds or the amount of time to sing Happy Birthday twice, or recite their ABC's. Hands should be thoroughly dried after washing to further prevent germs.

CRW: How exactly should hand sanitizer be used in order for it to be most effective?

JA: When soap and water are not available, the use of an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, like Purell Hand Sanitizer that contains 70% alcohol, is advised. Using about a quarter size in the palm of the hand is recommended. You need to cover the entire hand, especially the fingertips - which are most prone to touch germs. Rub the sanitizer in until dry, for about 15 seconds. The formulation is very important; ingredients have an effect on how much you need.

Arbogast's studies with GOJO are specifically with Purell. He notes that all should understand that it is normal for germs to be on our hands all of the time; the purpose of sanitizing is to reduce the germs.

CRW: What can we do to prevent others from making us sick?

JA: I suggest that everyone should make sure others use tissues and elbows when coughing or sneezing. It is very important to keep your own hands away from your own face, nose, eyes, and mouth where germs can be spread very easily. One must clean hands before grabbing food items.

CRW: There has been a lot of debate about the formal handshake – Do you believe in a fist bump or handshake?

JA: Don't be inhibited about social behavior as long as you prevent germs from getting you sick. Wash or use Purell soon after a handshake. Don't be afraid to shake, just be aware of prevention and guarding yourself against key moments - such as when someone else is sick or right before eating.

CRW: Can someone be too neurotic with using hand sanitizer?

JA: Knowledge and science are still being learned about how different bacteria effects us. Everyone has resident germs and bacteria which is normal. Keeping the transient germs off hands at the right moments is necessary. Alcohol-based sanitizers are now the standard of care in hospitals for hand sanitizing. Along with the Purell bottled gel, Purell sanitizing wipes are a great alternative for on the go sanitizing to have when traveling.

Arbogast proudly spoke of GOJO:

"A family owned company in existence since the 40's, in the business to advance sciences for prevention and hygiene, and healthcare. Their focus is on crafting items, such as Purell, that smell good and live up to their promise of fighting germs. GOJO is 100 percent focused on skincare, looking to contribute superior hand hygiene products that provide superior results."

Take the lead from Jim Arbogast to win the battle against getting sick by practicing illness germ prevention. Sing out in Happy Birthday cheer fighting off the evil germ demons. Do not be afraid to give others a handshake, just have Purell on hand for an easy hand hygienic clean-up. Keep up the good hygiene along with the good health; never be afraid to dance!

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