Scratch Hand Sanitizers Off Your Back-to-School List, Study Suggests

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Hand sanitizers are heavily marketed to parents in the weeks leading up to the first day of school. But they may be useless when it comes to preventing school absences due to illnesses, according to a new study.

Researchers in New Zealand observed 2,500 children (from 68 schools) for five months and found that kids who used hand sanitizers in their classrooms had an equal number of sick days -- about 1 in every 100 children per day -- as those who did not.

All of the kids in the study received a 30-minute educational lesson on hand washing and hygiene, while half also used hand sanitizers.

Until recently, most studies of hand sanitizers in schools have been too small or too biased to answer the question of whether it really helps prevent illness.

This new research may mean that as the school year begins, parents can rely on a little reminder about hand-washing habits and don’t necessarily have to stock up on the sanitizers.


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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