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Mandatory Hand Washing Cuts Kids’ Sick Days

Wednesday, 24 Aug 2011 08:12 AM

Note to parents: If you want to keep your children healthy and attending school this fall, tell them to wash their hands.

Requiring schoolchildren to regularly wash their hands reduces sickness and absenteeism, a study published this month in the American Journal of Infection shows.

The research involved 290 Danish schoolchildren ages 5 through 15 who were taught how to wash their hands properly and asked to clean their hands three times a day for three months with hand-sanitizer gel.

They were compared to a control group of 362 students at another nearby school who were not required to wash their hands, but their parents were given information about hand washing and absenteeism.

Researchers, after adjusting for the groups’ different sizes, found that the children required to wash their hands had 26 percent fewer missed school days and 22 percent fewer times of sickness compared to the children in the control group, the Wall Street Journal reports.

The following year, the schools reversed roles, and scientists found that many of the schoolchildren previously taught good hygiene maintained their habits, with 25 percent still disinfecting their hands. The hand-washing group, which had been the control group the previous year, experienced a 34 percent drop in missed days from the earlier year and a 23 percent decline in periods of illness.



© HealthDay

 
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