It’s common knowledge that young children tend to have more sore throats and runny noses than adults. Depending on how they chose to clean their hands can cut back on missing school. That’s where hand sanitizer comes into play.
A study in Spain found that children who use hand sanitizer to clean their hands rather than soap and water reduce their chances of missing schools. Also, they are at lower risk of having respiratory infections and needing antibiotic prescriptions.
The study included 911 children who attend 24 daycare centers in Almeria, Spain. The children were few months old to age 3. Researchers split the children, their families, and the centers into three different groups. One group was allowed to use sanitizer to clean their hands, and one group was to use only soap and water. The last group was to use their normal handwashing routines.
Before the beginning of the study, all three groups were a part of hand hygiene workshops. However, those in the hand sanitizer groups and the soap and water groups had to attend follow-up sessions about fevers and respiratory infections. Also, they were to receive pamphlets on hand hygiene.
Hand Sanitizer Better Than Washing Hands
The study encouraged the groups to read the pamphlets on hand washing protocols. They were to wash their hands before and after eating, as well as when they came home. Also, they were to wash their hands after coughing, sneezing, and blowing their noses.
The study was for eight months. The 911 students had an accumulation of 5,211 repository infections and 5,186 missed days of school. Out the groups, those in the sanitizer groups only lost 3.25% of days from daycare. The group just using water and soap missed 3.9% of days. The last group, who were to follow their normal routines lost 4.2% of days away from daycare.
The authors of the study found that there was a 21% higher risk of contracting a respiratory infection in the group using water and soap for their hands. They were at a 31% higher risk of receiving antibiotic prescriptions than those using hand sanitizer at all times.