Educating children about hand washing reduces school absences

23rd of September 2011
Educating children about hand washing reduces school absences

Educating school children about proper hand washing may have an effect on reducing school absences, according to a study.

The research, carried out in Denmark, reveals that pupils are less likely to miss school if hand washing is included in their daily classroom routine.

The study was carried out over a period of three months and involved 324 pupils aged five to14. They were each given a lesson in hand disinfection theory and practice and asked to disinfect their hands using ethanol gel three times throughout the school day.

As a result, 66 per cent fewer pupils were absent from school for four or more days over the same period during previous year. There was also a 20 per cent increase in children with zero absences over the previous year.

According to the researchers: "Regular training in hand washing and hand disinfection would be a simple, low-cost action with very a significant impact on reducing infectious illness absence periods among pupils."

The study, carried out by Inge Nandrup-Bus, was designed to determine the effect of mandatory and scheduled hand disinfection on absenteeism related to infectious illness.

Respiratory and gastrointestinal illnesses were taken to be the primary infectious causes of school absences for the purposes of the study.



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