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Health Team

Ads Campaign Against the Spread of Germs

Posted July 6, 2007

We’ve all seen this person—the one who doesn’t wash his hands after using the bathroom.

He’s called the Fifth Guy, because four out of five people wash their hands in the bathroom. But the Fifth Guy doesn’t, and from the bathroom to the boardroom, he’s spreading germs to the rest of us.

The Florida Department of Health has created a series of awareness ads to urge people not to be the Fifth Guy. Officials hope the publicity campaign will be infectious.

“We're adding some humor to it to get the attention of the public,” said Dr. Beverly Nelson-Curtis of the Florida Department of Health.

When faced with the Fifth Guy, though, people must answer an awkward question: Should we say something to him?

Health officials said people should do exactly that.

“We really should because that's the way to prevent common germs and germs that can also be dangerous. That's the way germs are spread,” said Nelson.

But why not a Fifth Girl instead of a Fifth Guy?

A recent survey by the American Society of Microbiology found 90 percent of women washed their hands every time after using the bathroom, while only 75 percent of men did.

The awareness campaign also suggests coughing into your sleeve or a tissue, instead of your hands. Additionally, the campaign urges people to stay home when they’re sick.

“Everyone needs to be more vigilant,” said Dr. Nelson.

The ads are only being aired in Florida, but other states have expressed interest in using them.

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