You now see alcohol-based hand sanitizers at kids’ party venues, offices, and schools, but do they really help to ward off colds and flus when used in schools?
A new study from researchers in New Zealand separated students from 68 schools into two groups: one that they told to wash their hands with soap and water and another that they asked to use classroom hand sanitizers when they sneezed or coughed, and before meals. They checked in with 2,400 students during 20 weeks to track the days that they missed school.
In the end, it turned out that absentee rates between the two groups were virtually the same.
“These findings suggest that, in high-income countries where clean water for hand washing is readily available, putting resources into extra hand hygiene by providing hand sanitizer in classrooms may not be an effective way to break the child-to-child transmission of infectious diseases,” reported the researchers.
What to do? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says it’s best for kids (and adults!) to wash hands with water and soap (like California Baby’s line of natural hand washes).
And check out our handy chart to remind kids to wash!