Lack of hygiene has consequences

According to the National Board of Health, “hygiene” describes a state of purity, and the term signals the promotion of purity, prevention of the spread of infection, as well as prevention of disease and pollution.

The corona pandemic has brought many social, health and economic challenges for the whole world. However, the pandemic has also ensured that our focus on hygiene has never been greater. And there can be a lot of value to be found in the increased focus on hygiene, both for society as a whole, but also the individual company.

Great opportunities for increased hygiene

Inadequate hygiene imposes a heavy burden on society, as it contributes to the spread of infectious infectious diseases. Infectious diseases primarily affect the individual citizen, but are also a burden on society in the form of sick leave and lost ability to work, as well as expenses for treatment.

What do infectious diseases cost society?

In 2018, the National Board of Health prepared a hygiene report in which figures were compiled on the most common infectious diseases and their impact on society.

Infections such as colds, flu and otitis media are the most common cause of acute illness in children aged 0-15 years.
Every year, Denmark is affected by seasonal flu, which runs over the winter months and infects up to 10% of the population with influenza.
In addition, Denmark is affected by influenza epidemic approx. every two to three years, with as much as 20% of the population being infected.
In a study by Aarhus Municipality, it was concluded that approx. 20% of hospital admissions were caused by infections.
All of these infections primarily affect those who become ill, but they also impose a heavy financial burden on society in the form of increased absenteeism, as well as financial costs associated with treatment. More specifically

1.820.000.000 kr.

Costs it annually in hospital treatment of lower respiratory tract infections.


Outpatient hospital visits are recorded annually with lower respiratory tract infections, such as influenza, pneumonia, or acute bronchitis.


On a random day, people have an acute infection with diarrhea or vomiting in an average municipality with 59,000 citizens.


Annual infections with diarrhea or vomiting in average municipality with 59,000 citizens.

Increased hygiene can reduce costs and increase productivity

As mentioned, infectious diseases cost society a lot of money annually. It is, logically, costly for an employer every time an employee reports sick. A study published in PharamcoEconomics estimates that a case of influenza will mean 3.7 – 5.9 lost working days per day. coincidence. In addition, it is estimated that a person who has been ill will work with reduced productivity for the first 3.5 days after return.

However, these consequences apply to all sections of society. For example, when a child becomes ill, a parent will most often use the “child’s first day of illness”, when the parent is not at work. By increasing the hygiene in the day care institutions, the Danish Health and Medicines Authority estimates that an annual socio-economic saving of DKK 445,000,000 can be achieved.

There is thus huge potential in increasing hygiene, both for public institutions and private organizations. With increased focus on hygiene, we can achieve increased health in the organization with reduced sickness absence, increased productivity and employees who think faster and are happier.