Study: Use of Purell hand sanitizer reduced diarrhea and respiratory illness incidence among children

AKRON, Ohio — Among children who took part in a recent study on the use of hand sanitizer in an environment with limited access to clean water, diarrhea cases were reduced by 30% and respiratory illnesses by more than 11%, GOJO Industries noted in a release issued Tuesday. 

The University of Columbia study was reported in the June 2012 issue of Pan American Journal of Public Health. As part of the study, researchers monitored children's use of alcohol hand sanitizer in conjunction with education to help to reduce life-threatening infections.

The study's authors concluded that Colombia's disease-prevention policies should include the use of alcohol-based hand sanitizers, especially in settings where hand-washing with soap and water is limited due to the availability of clean water.

"I believe teaching about and encouraging the use of alcohol-based hand sanitizer is a simple and easy intervention that is very effective in reducing life-threatening diarrhea and respiratory infections," stated Juan Correa, a professor at the University of Columbia. "These small changes can make a tremendous impact on the health of children and their communities."

The Colombia study reflects the GOJO commitment to evidence-based understanding of the role of good hand hygiene for health and well-being, noted Nicole Koharik, GOJO global sustainability marketing director. "The study results prove that the use of Purell products, combined with hand hygiene knowledge, can save lives," she stated. "They reinforce the importance of the GOJO commitment to social well-being around the globe as it pertains to the 'GOJO Purpose,' [which is] saving lives and making life better through well-being solutions."

The study was conducted in 42 childcare centers in six towns in Colombia with limited access to clean tap water, a circumstance considered a leading cause of childhood death in developing nations. The study's purpose was to gauge the effectiveness of combining the use of alcohol-based hand sanitizers with hand hygiene education to reduce acute diarrheal diseases and respiratory infections. In partnership with GOJO, a distributor of Purell products in South America donated Purell Instant Hand Sanitizer and placed dispensers in the childcare centers. A team from Fundación Santa Fe in Bogotá developed and distributed the hand hygiene curriculum.

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