Study: Children who use hand sanitizers missed fewer days of school

A study released Monday asserted that children who cleaned their hands with sanitizer instead of soap and water missed fewer days of school and had fewer respiratory infections, CNN reported.

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The study by researchers in Spain was published Monday in the journal Pediatrics. The researchers observed 911 children ages 3 and younger who attended 24 day care centers in Almeria, Spain. The children, their parents and day care centers were divided into three groups: One group used a hand sanitizer and the second group used soap and water; the third group, the control group, followed its usual pattern of cleaning hands, CNN reported. The study was conducted over an eight-month period.

The researchers found that the students had 5,211 respiratory infections that led to 5,186 days of day care, CNN reported. The group using the hand sanitizer missed 3.25 percent of time at day care centers, while the soap-and-water children missed 3.9 percent. The third group missed 4.2 percent of days from day care, the study found.

The researchers also discovered that the soap-and-water group had a 21 percent higher chance of getting a respiratory infection.

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According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, washing hands with soap and water remains the best way to avoid infection. However, the CDC said that the use of hand sanitizer containing at least 60 percent alcohol was a good alternative.

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