Alcohol Based Sanitizers: Decreases Flu Risk

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Recent flu-viruses alarm health authorities due to its communicability harms. Human flu symptoms usually include fever, cough, sore throat, muscle aches, conjunctivitis and, in severe cases, severe breathing problems and pneumonia that may be fatal. The November issue of The Pediatric Infectious Disease Journa, published by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, a part of Wolters Kluwer Health reports a study about hand and respiratory hygiene program that includes the useof alcohol-based hand sanitizer helps lower down the cases of Influenza A  virus diseases and thus, leading to lesser absences of elementary children at school.

“Respiratory hygiene education and the regular use of hand sanitizer can be an important adjunct to influenza vaccination programs to reduce the number of influenza A infections among children,” according to the study by Dr Samuel Stebbins of the University of Pittsburgh and colleagues.

Alcohol-based sanitizers are antiseptic solutions that are more effective in killing germs than soap preparations. It is designs as a supplement or an alternative to the usual soap and water to be free from microorganisms. Alcohol-based sanitizers are also not as much as drying to the hands than soap does.

A program entitled, “’WHACK the Flu’ Program Reduces Influenza A and Sick Days…” the children were taught to (W)ash or sanitize your hands often; (H)ome is where you stay when you are sick; (A)void touching your eyes, nose, and mouth; (C)over your coughs and sneezes,; (K)eep your distance from sick people. It was a five-step training of “cough etiquette and hand hygiene” program done on the study at five Pittsburgh elementary schools. On the other hand, another five schools received no special hygiene training and during the duration of the school year, children who developed a flu-like illness were tested to determine if they had influenza, and whether the cause was influenza A or B virus. In tests performed in 279 children with flu-like illness, 104 confirmed cases of influenza were identified.

Because of the program, kids are practiced and encouraged to use hand sanitizers more often than not. The average use was 2.4 times per day, compared to four recommended times (on arrival at school, before and after lunch, and when leaving school).The implemented  “WHACK the Flu” program gained a significant 52 percent reduction in the rate of confirmed illness caused by influenza A and there was a 26 percent reduction in total school absences.

The results show that a hygiene education program including hand sanitizer “can be implemented successfully on a large scale within urban schools to reduce absenteeism and the incidence of influenza A,” Dr Stebbins and coauthors write. They consider their study supports current recommendations for respiratory hygiene, including hand sanitizer, during any type of flu outbreak, and as part of an overall influenza prevention strategy in schools.



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