Kids Taught to Wash Hands in School Avoid Sick Days: Study

Training in hand hygiene and disinfection may be a simple, cheap way to reduce infectious illness

TUESDAY, Aug. 9 (HealthDay News) -- Good knowledge of hand hygiene among students reduces school absenteeism, researchers report.

The study included 324 elementary school students, aged 5 to 14, in Denmark. The children were given a lesson in hand disinfection theory and practice and told to disinfect their hands using ethanol gel three times each school day.

During the three-month study, there was a 66 percent decrease in students who were absent for four or more days and a 20 percent increase in children with zero absences, compared to the previous school year, the investigators found.

"Regular training in [hand washing] and [hand disinfection] would be a simple, low-cost action with very significant impact on reducing infectious illness absence periods among pupils," stated study author and infection preventionist Inge Nandrup-Bus, in a news release from the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology.

The study is published in the August issue of the American Journal of Infection Control.

More information

The American Society for Microbiology has more about the importance of hand washing.

Robert Preidt SOURCE: Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology, news release, Aug. 4, 2011

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