Pack it with the School Supplies

A list of the top 10 recent research articles in children’s health appeared in the August 2003 issue of Pediatric News, the leading newspaper for pediatricians. Number two on the list was about how alcohol-based hand gels improve hand hygiene. This is something simple, practical, and fun that parents can do to keep their children healthy as they head back to school.

It’s important to remember that most common infections that keep kids out of school – like colds – are spread by germs. But did you know that hands are usually the culprits? About 80 percent of infectious diseases are spread by hand contact, not through the air by coughs and sneezes. We get sick when we touch things that are full of germs (as kids are constantly doing!) and then transfer the germs to our nose or mouth.

So what’s the solution? I recommend that parents pack a little bottle of alcohol-based instant hand sanitizer in their children’s lunch box or backpack. It’s a gel that kids can squirt out of the bottle and rub on their hands. A few seconds later, the alcohol-based gel evaporates, killing those germs on little hands – no soap and water or towels needed!

Studies show that adding alcohol – based instant hand sanitizers to classrooms can reduce student absenteeism by 20 percent. What’s more, many kids think instant hand sanitizers, which can be found in most supermarkets, are fun to use. So, make sure that instant hand sanitizers are on your school shopping list this year!

Published on: August 29, 2003
About the Author
Photo of Alan Greene MD
Dr. Greene is a practicing physician, author, national and international TEDx speaker, and global health advocate. He is a graduate of Princeton University and University of California San Francisco.
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