Rinse-free hand washing regimes might reduce illness-related absenteeism among preschool and school children

Added April 9, 2020

Citation: Munn Z, Tufanaru C, Lockwood C, et al. Rinse-free hand wash for reducing absenteeism among preschool and school children. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2020; (4): CD012566

What is this? Physical interventions, such as hand washing, should interrupt or reduce the spread of COVID-19. However, in some settings, there are barriers to washing hands with soap and water, such as the need for running water and to dry hands after cleaning. An alternative is washing hands using rinse-free hand wash, which may be particularly relevant for preschool and school children and help reduce illness-related absenteeism and slow down the spread of infection.

In this Cochrane systematic review, the authors searched for randomized and quasi-randomized trials, comparing rinse-free hand wash in any form versus conventional hand washing using soap and water, other hand hygiene programs such as education, or no intervention, in children (aged 2-18 years) attending preschool or school in any country. They did not restrict by date, type or language of publication and did their searches in February 2020. They identified 19 eligible studies (30,747 participants) across 11 countries, all of which used a cluster design.

What works: Rinse-free hand washing regimes seem to have a small but beneficial effect on illness-related absenteeism due to acute respiratory and gastrointestinal disease, compared to no rinse-free hand wash, among children in preschools, and elementary and primary schools.

What doesn’t work: Nothing noted.

What’s uncertain: Nothing noted.


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