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Fam Med. 1997 May;29(5):336-9.

Scheduled hand washing in an elementary school population.

Author information

1
Department of Family Practice, Providence Hospital, Southfield, Mich., USA.

Abstract

BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES:

Hand washing prevents communicable illness. We evaluated the effect of a mandatory, scheduled hand-washing program in elementary school children on absenteeism due to acute communicable illness.

METHODS:

The study was conducted at Trombley Elementary School in Grosse Pointe Park, Mich. The intervention group, approximately half of the school children (n = 143, including all grades 1-5), washed their hands a minimum of four scheduled times a day. The control group (n = 162) continued hand-washing practices as usual.

RESULTS:

Of the 37 school days examined, children in the hand-washing group were absent fewer days than the control group due to all acute communicable illness (relative risk = .75). There were less days of absence due to gastrointestinal symptoms (relative risk = .43). The difference in absence due to respiratory symptoms was not statistically significant.

CONCLUSIONS:

A scheduled hand-washing program will reduce acute communicable (gastrointestinal) illnesses in elementary school-age children.

PMID:
9165286
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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