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Make Your Kids Wash Their Hands

Parents need reminder about importance of hand hygiene for their children

WEDNESDAY, Oct. 8, 2003 (HealthDayNews) -- It seems many parents need to polish up on their awareness about the importance of hand hygiene in preventing illness among children.

A national survey of parents and guardians of kids in kindergarten to Grade 12 found 56 percent of them weren't aware that washing your hands is the most effective way to keep from getting sick and spreading illness.

The survey of about 1,000 people was done by an independent firm on behalf of the Soap and Detergent Association (SDA), a trade association representing cleaning product manufacturers.

The survey found that some parents believed the best way to prevent their children from catching an illness at school included: diet and exercise (13 percent); immunization and flu shots (13 percent); regular check-ups (7 percent); and eight hours of sleep per night (3 percent).

Children brushing their teeth and wearing clean clothes were among the other answers.

Each year in the United States, students lose about 22 million school days due to the common cold.

The SDA offers the following hand hygiene instructions. First, wash your hands with warm water and apply liquid, bar or powder soap. Then, rub hands together vigorously to make a lather, and scrub all surfaces. Continue washing your hands with soap for at least 15 seconds in order to dislodge and remove germs. Rinse your hands well and dry them using a paper towel or hand dryer.

More information

Here's where you can learn more about the importance of hand washing.

SOURCE: Soap and Detergent Association, news release, September 2003
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