Press Releases

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Survey Shows Workers Often Go to Work Sick

Reports indicate more than 80 percent of illnesses are transmitted by the hands1, a key to how illness-causing germs can spread quickly in an office.

Press Release Icon

For most of the country, the winter months often bring colder temperatures, snow, indoor activities and an increase in the spread of germs. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), cold and flu season typically peaks in the United States between December and February.2

A survey conducted by Wakefield Research (sponsored by GOJO Industries) revealed some startling facts about how Americans handle illness during the winter germ season:

  • Sixty-nine percent (69 percent) of working Americans don’t take sick days because they don’t want to miss a day of work, even if they’re actually sick;3
  • Sixty-two percent (62 percent) of working Americans have gone to work sick3;
  • Nearly three in four parents have sent their children to school sick3; and
  • Sixty percent (60 percent) of those surveyed saw their co-worker sneeze without using a tissue.3

According to the CDC, approximately 80 percent of infectious diseases are transmitted by touch4 and the CDC recommends hand hygiene as one of the most important steps to avoid getting sick and spreading germs to others.5 In fact, results from the Wakefield Research Survey showed that of those who didn’t get sick last winter-germ season, the majority of them, 67 percent, said hand hygiene is the reason why.3

“This survey highlights that hand hygiene must be practiced far more thoroughly and regularly – whether it’s at home, in the office or on the go,” said Jim Arbogast, Ph.D., Vice President of Hygiene Sciences and Public Health Advancements, GOJO Industries. “Keeping hands clean by either washing with soap and water or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, like PURELL® Advanced Hand Sanitizer, should be second nature for all of us. It’s a simple and effective way to prevent you and your family from getting sick and spreading illness-causing germs to others.”

The CDC recommends washing hands with soap and water and when soap and water are not available to use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol to reduce germs on hands and decrease the spread of illness-causing germs.5

It is important to remember the key moments for practicing hand hygiene. These include:

  • Before and after preparing food,
  • Before eating,
  • Before and after caring for someone that is sick or around someone who is ill,
  • After using the bathroom,
  • After sneezing or coughing,
  • After touching anything that is in a high-traffic area that may have been touched by many different hands, such as the grocery cart handle, a phone or a handrail.

For more surprising facts about how Americans handle illness during cold and flu season, view our infographic, Germ Alert: Your Co-Worker Might Not Call In Sick.

The survey was conducted by Wakefield Research among 1,000 nationally representative U.S. adults aged 18+, between Jan. 22 and Feb. 2, 2015.

Results of any sample are subject to sampling variation. The magnitude of that variation is measurable and is affected by the number of interviews conducted. For the interviews conducted, the chances are 95 in 100 that a survey result does not vary, plus or minus, by more than 3.1 percentage points from the result that would be obtained if interviews had been conducted with all persons in the universe represented by the sample.

1 2013 Meta-analysis of germ transmission data by Dr. Gerba, University of Arizona
2Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. What You Should Know for the 2015-2016 Influenza Season. Retrieved December 29, 2015, from
3Wakefield Research conducted a survey between January 22nd and February 2nd, 2015, among 1,000 U.S. nationally representative adults aged 18 and older. The margin of error at the 95 percent confidence level is +/- 3.1 percentage points. Survey sponsored by the makers of PURELL Hand Sanitizer.
4Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). CDC Quick Reference Guide for
Public Information on Infection Control.
5Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Handwashing: Clean Hands Save Lives. December 11, 2013.

Download Press Release (91 KB)

About GOJO -

GOJO, the inventors of PURELL® Hand Sanitizer, is the leading global producer and marketer of skin health and hygiene solutions for away-from-home settings. The broad GOJO product portfolio includes hand cleaning, handwashing, hand sanitizing, skin care formulas and surface sprays under the GOJO®, PURELL™ and PROVON® brand names. GOJO formulations use the latest advances in the science of skin care and sustainability. GOJO is known for state-of-the-art dispensing technology, engineered with attention to design, sustainability and functionality. GOJO programs promote healthy behaviors for hygiene, skin care and compliance in critical environments. GOJO is a family enterprise headquartered in Akron, Ohio, with operations in the United Kingdom, France, Australia, Japan, Mexico, and Canada.


Contact Information

Contact: Kelly Ward-Smith, Public Relations Senior Manager

Phone Number: 330-255-6293
Mobile Phone: 330-819-8638


This contact information is for news media only. For other inquiries, please contact GOJO customer service at 1-800-321-9647 or use the GOJO Contact Us form.