British businesses face losing £6.6 billion in lost revenue and 62 million working days this winter due to parents having to shelve work or leave the office to look after poorly children who’ve been sent home from school.
The incredible cost to the economy is being predicted as Britain heads for a ‘perfect storm’ in late 2022 due to a cocktail of tumbling temperatures, annual flu surge, a potential mutation of new Covid variants and poor hygiene habits at family Christmas or social gatherings.
The winter months traditionally lead to a dramatic uplift in the number of children falling ill with bugs and viruses caught in class. But, according to new data from the UK’s fastest-growing hygiene provider INEOS Hygienics, that will be compounded by an increasingly lax attitude to hand hygiene.
Coinciding with the launch of INEOS Hygienics’ high-performance moisturising hand wash range, containing four unique moisturisers designed to strengthen and protect the skin barrier, the study aims to raise awareness of practising good hygiene habits this winter.
The research found that while 87 per cent of parents relay the importance of children washing their hands and sanitising regularly to keep bugs at bay, when kids get to school hygiene goes out of the window. And two thirds (59%) of those who took part said they feared things would be worse this year than they were last.
The result of which means mums, dads, and carers up and down the country will face a long, hard winter and an increase in the number of ‘dreaded’ calls from school asking for children to be picked up and taken home.
What’s more, the looming recession is set to throw a spanner in the works, with almost half (42%) of parents not wanting to leave work early or take days off at a time when their employer may be considering cutting staff numbers.
Fran Millar, CEO of INEOS Hygienics said: “The winter of 2022 could really be the ‘winter of discontent’ in terms of health and sickness leading to missing work and school.
Health can really impact education. Picking up germs can lead to children getting sick and missing school. Not to mention the knock-on effect on the wider economy with parents then having to miss work.”
Researchers found that while the ‘WFH’ culture made it tricky to care for poorly children at home, parents’ return to the office or regular place of work is even more of a challenge now when businesses are struggling to deal with Covid staff shortages.
Over a third (38%) of 1,002 parents who took part in the study said they were ‘on tenterhooks’ generally during the winter amid the fear of a ‘dreaded’ call from school. And 29% per cent said they felt ‘guilty’ having to tell their boss or line manager they had to leave to collect their sick kid.
This clearly impacts how they deal with their sick offspring, as it also emerged that a large percentage of mums and dads don’t plan on playing entirely by the rules this winter.
Around 36 per cent said they would ‘chance it’ if their child woke up with a temperature, dosing them with Calpol or a different medicine in the hope they would make it through the day, despite the possibility their child could have Covid.
As well as full or part-time employees, the issue also extends to those who are self-employed or freelance. The INEOS Hygienics data shows that last year, the average self-employed person lost around £5,585 in income due to their child being sent home ill from school.
In terms of hygiene, a quarter (25%) of parents said they weren’t as hot on ensuring their children wash their hands as they were at the height of the pandemic.
And half said they frequently forgot to ask their kids to wash their hands as soon as they arrived home from a day out or from a visit to a friend’s house.
Fran Millar continued: “It’s not too much of a surprise that hygiene habits are starting to slip in a post-pandemic world, where we are back to leading busy lives and a high proportion of the population have had their covid vaccines.”
“But flu, colds and coronavirus are only going to stay in circulation – and with winter around the corner, hand hygiene is a simple and effective measure we can all take to prevent picking up viruses and bacteria and avoid getting sick.”
“Washing our hands is key to keeping viruses and bacteria at bay, however, frequent hand washing can lead to dry, cracked skin. Especially as we enter the colder months. We have developed a new antibacterial and nourishing hand wash range that contains four unique moisturisers known to actively improve the condition of your skin. It is designed to combat this issue around frequent hand washing
so that you can keep on top of hygiene, safe in the knowledge you’re also looking after your skin”.
“Our new, nourishing hand wash range works to strengthen the skin’s natural barrier, protecting hands from illness and infection. In fact, 80% of people found that their skin felt ‘extremely moisturised’ after using the new Hand Wash.*”
As one of the leading producers of hospital-grade hand sanitiser, INEOS Hygienics’ new hand-protecting, anti-bacterial cleansing and nourishing Hand Wash range has been infused with the latest in fragrance science.
Formulated using ‘INEOS DNA’ fragrance technology, the new Hand Wash range contains purifying essential oils and phytoncides.
Phytoncides are dual-action molecules emitted by plants and trees which inhibit the development of bacteria, whilst releasing aromas which help combat feelings of stress and fatigue.
Fran Millar concluded: “During the height of the pandemic the nation was advised to practice rigorous hygiene routines. Who can forget the government telling us to wash our hands for the length of the ‘Happy Birthday To You’.
“We should look to remind our kids about the importance of washing our hands, for the right length of time, and set them up to keep on top of hand sanitising between washes.”