The Effect of a Comprehensive Handwashing Program on Absenteeism in Elementary Schools

Absences reduced 50.6% lower in test group

Maryellen E. Guinan
Maryanne McGuckin-Guinan, DrScEd, MT(ASCP) 
Yusuf Ali, PhD

The Study: 
Handwashing is one of the most important factors in controlling the spread of micro-organisms and in preventing the development of infections. The objective of this study was to determine the effectiveness of a comprehensive handwashing program on absenteeism in elementary grades. Two hundred ninety students from 5 independent schools were enrolled in the study. Each test classroom had a control classroom, and only the test classroom received the intervention (education program and hand sanitizer). Absenteeism data were collected for 3 months. 
The Results:
The number of absences was 50.6% lower in the test group (P < .001). The data strongly suggest that a hand hygiene program that combines education and use of a hand sanitizer in the classroom can lower absenteeism and be cost-effective.

Am J Infect Control. 2002; 30: 217-20

Read the article abstract (publisher's agent site)