Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Hand sanitizers not shown to cut school absences

Article: Study: Hand sanitizers not shown to cut school absences
Putting alcohol-based hand sanitizers in classrooms in the hopes of reducing school absences due to illness may not be worth the expense in high-income countries where clean water for washing hands is readily available, a study says.

It finds that adding the sanitizers to school-age kids' usual hand hygiene routine — washing with soap and water — did not reduce illness-related absences.

The findings, reported in this week's PLOS Medicine, do not apply to hospitals and health care facilities or in controlling the spread of gastrointestinal illness where hand sanitizers remain a vital component of infection control, says lead study author Patricia Priest of New Zealand's University of Otago, in Dunedin, in an e-mail.

The study looked at 2,443 students, ages 5 to 11, in 68 schools in New Zealand. They each received a 30-minute in-class hand hygiene education lesson that reinforced knowledge about "germs causing sickness, and the need to wash hands well with soap and water after using the toilet, before eating, after touching pets, etc.," says Priest, a public health physician and infectious disease epidemiologist at the university's Dunedin School of Medicine.
So, hand washing is more effective than hand sanitizer in stop spreading illness.

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