Trial shows link between hand washing and reduced infections

Washing one’s hands more frequently really does result in lower rates of infection, it has now been confirmed.

This has emerged following a three-year study into the effects of hand washing on reducing illnesses. 
 
The study, which involved 20,000 adults, was carried out at the University of Southampton. It looked at the impact of hand washing on rates of acute respiratory, influenza-type and gastro-intestinal illnesses. 
 
“Until this trial it wasn’t really clear whether hand washing really did work,” said lead researcher Paul Little. “But we now know that this is the case.” 
 
One group of people in the trial were given access to online educational materials about hand washing and the way in which infections and viruses were spread. They were also informed about the most important times to wash their hands. 
 
This group saw a 15 to 25 per cent reduction in infections compared with the control group, which had no access to such materials. 
 
Those who had seen the hand washing reminders also reported 10 per cent fewer visits to their GPs, indicating that a similar scheme in the public arena could reduce the burden on the NHS. 
 
Meanwhile, SCA is conducting a similar study at 18 kindergartens in China. The aim is to uncover the link between early hand hygiene intervention and disease prevention.
 
SCA will supply Tork dispensers, soap and hand towels to the kindergartens and provide training support to kindergarten teachers. The project is expected to show that good hand hygiene practices at home and school can prevent the spread of diseases among children. 

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