Study says hand sanitizer better than washing

  • Study says hand sanitizer better than washing

Study says hand sanitizer better than washing

A new study published today in the journal Pediatrics suggests that children that wash their hands with hand sanitizer rather than soap and water missed fewer days of school, had fewer respiratory infections, and needed fewer antibiotic prescriptions than their peers that washed their hands using soap and water.

In addition, "hand sanitizers are not as effective when hands are visibly dirty or greasy", the CDC notes.

During the eight-month study period, the 911 students had 5,211 respiratory infections that led to 5,186 missed days of day care. They split the children, their families and their day care centers into three groups: One group used hand sanitizer to clean hands, and one used soap and water, both with strict protocols about hygiene.

Children in the hand sanitizer group had 23 percent fewer respiratory infections - as defined by the presence of symptoms like coughing, sneezing, congestion, and sore throat - compared with kids in the third group.

"However, there are few recent studies that reveal their effectiveness in day care centers, specifically, those in which researchers examine hand hygiene health education importance for day care staff and parents to reduce infection transmission in day care centers".

Next, the team looked at the number of missed days of daycare in each group. The soap and water group missed 3.9 percent of days, closer to the latter than the former.

A new study claims that hand sanitizer has the upper "hand" over regular hand-washing. "We know a lot about the fact that it works".

Janet Haas, director of epidemiology at Lenox Hill Hospital in NY, said the different techniques used by the participants are important. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), hands need to be scrubbed for at least 20 seconds when washing with soap and water. Little ones also require supervision when using the alcohol-based product, lest they get it in their mouths. Eek!