Area 23 Launches “Cooties Catcher” to Encourage Handwashing

Area 23, an FCB Health company, worked with GOJO Industries, Inc., makers of PURELL®, to create “Cootie Catcher,” an initiative aimed at encouraging handwashing and better health.

Launched in conjunction with Global Handwashing Day on October 15th, the program began with an interactive experiment that had a class of first grade students place their hands in sterile Petri dishes. The dishes were incubated in a laboratory for three weeks and students were then able to examine photos of their bacteria-ridden handprints. The overwhelming reaction to the results was “Gross!” and “Cool!,” followed immediately by, “Can I go wash my hands now, please!?”

Area 23 produced a video documenting the experiment which can be viewed on the “Cooties Catcher” microsite.  The agency also created a downloadable poster featuring a photograph of one of the “dirty” handprints. Additional educational materials are available on the microsite as well.

Area 23 chose to be a part of “Cootie Catcher” because children miss more than 60 million school days in the U.S. every year due to colds and the influenza virus.1 Proper handwashing and good hand hygiene is the easiest and most efficient way to reduce the spread of germs that can cause sickness and disrupt a child’s education.

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