FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 15, 2004
Phone: (734) 913-5723
Tel: (612) 215-9828
Test Your Germ Knowledge
Take the following quiz to test your germ and handwashing knowledge to help keep
your family healthy and out of the doctor's office.
1. How long do germs stay alive on surfaces?
a. 1 minute
b. 10 minutes
c. 2 hours
d. 5 hours
Answer: (c) 2 hours. Some viruses and bacteria can live from 20 minutes to up
to 2 hours on surfaces like cafeteria tables, doorknobs, and desks. (www.cdc.gov/flu/school
2. How long should you lather your hands with soap to eliminate germs
a. 5 seconds
b. 20 seconds
c. 1 minute
d. None - most germs rinse off with warm water alone.
Answer: (b) 20 seconds. Getting hands wet isn't enough to kill germs. Use soap
and rub your hands together, paying special attention to the areas around your
finger nails, for at least 20 seconds before rinsing (about as long as it takes
to sing the Scrub Club® handwashing song together). To help kids learn
the proper way to wash their hands in a fun and entertaining way, visit
www.scrubclub.org to play educational games, listen to the handwashing song
(sung by Phil Solem of the Rembrandts) and download activities.
3. What is an easy, effective activity that you can do to keep from getting
d. Eating a balanced diet
Answer: (a) handwashing. While all of these activities are good habits,
according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the single most
important thing that you can do to keep from getting sick is to wash your
4. How many school days are lost annually due to the common cold?
a. 22 million
b. 5 million
c. 50 million
d. 10 million
Answer: (a) 22 million. According to the CDC, nearly 22 million school days are
lost annually due to the common cold alone. Approximately 164 million days are
lost total due to illness.
5. How are germs and infectious diseases most commonly spread?
a. From droplets in sneezes and coughs
b. Indirect contact by sharing toys, touching doorknobs or other items
c. Food contamination
d. All of the above
Answer: (d) All of the above. Infections can be spread through person-to-person
contact or simply from being in the same room. Proper hygiene, including
covering your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough and sneeze, washing
your hands often and cleaning and sanitizing food preparation areas all help
stop the spread of infectious diseases and foodborne illnesses. (MayoClinic.com
6. After handling raw meat, what is a sufficient way to clean your hands?
a. Wipe hands on a wet towel
b. Rinse under hot, cold or warm water
c. Wash them with soap and warm water
d. Any of the above
Answer: (c) Wash hands with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds before
and after handling food, especially raw meat. Improper washing, such as using a
damp cloth or without soap will not remove bacteria from your hands.
7. What percentage of Americans don't wash their hands when leaving the
a. 12 percent
b. 27 percent
c. 33 percent
d. 58 percent
Answer: (c) 33 percent. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
(CDC) estimates that about one in three people don't wash their hands after
using the restroom. To learn the six steps to proper handwashing, visit
, an interactive web site designed to teach children,
parents and educators about the importance of proper handwashing.
8. Where do the most germs typically lurk in the kitchen?
b. Sponge or dishcloth
c. Cutting board
d. Refrigerator door handle
Answer: (b) Sponge or dishcloth. In a study conducted by the University of
Arizona, the average-sized sponge had more than 7 billion bacteria.
Countertops, cutting boards and refrigerator door handles should all be cleaned
regularly with hot water and a disinfectant cleaner or a mixture of bleach and
About NSF International:
NSF International, an independent, not-for-profit organization, helps protect
you by certifying products and writing standards for food, water, air and
consumer goods (www.nsf.org
Founded in 1944, NSF is committed to protecting public health and safety
worldwide. NSF is a World Health Organization Collaborating Centre for
Food and Water Safety and Indoor Environment. Additional services include
safety audits for the food and water industries, management systems
registrations delivered through NSF International Strategic Registrations,
Ltd., organic certification provided by Quality Assurance International and
education through the NSF Center for Public Health Education.