Appropriate time-interval application of alcohol hand gel on reducing influenza-like illness among preschool children: a randomized, controlled trial

Am J Infect Control. 2012 Aug;40(6):507-11. doi: 10.1016/j.ajic.2011.08.020. Epub 2012 Jan 20.


Background: We studied the efficacy of different time-interval applications of alcohol hand gel as a strategy for the prevention of influenza-like illness (ILI) in preschool-age children.

Methods: We performed a classroom-based cluster randomization at a kindergarten school in Bangkok, Thailand. A total of 1437 children were placed into 3 test groups, based on the frequency of alcohol hand gel use for hand hygiene: only before lunch (q lunch), every 120 minutes (q 120), and every 60 minutes (q 60). The primary outcome was a change in the school absenteeism rate caused by ILI.

Results: The rates of absenteeism from confirmed ILI (sick days/present days) were 0.026 in the q lunch group, 0.025 in the q 120 group, and 0.017 in the q 60 group. Significant reductions in absenteeism rates were seen when comparing the q 60 group with the q 120 group (rate difference, 0.009; 95% confidence interval [CI], -0.002 to 0.015; P = .008) and comparing the q 60 group with the q lunch group (rate difference, 0.0096; 95% CI, 0.004-0.016; P = .002). No such differences were detected between the q 120 and q lunch groups (rate difference, 0.001; 95% CI, 0.005-0.007; P = .743).

Conclusions: The compulsory hourly use of alcohol gel as classroom hand disinfection could significantly reduce the rate of absenteeism from ILI in preschool-age children.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Absenteeism
  • Alcohols / administration & dosage*
  • Child
  • Child Day Care Centers
  • Child, Preschool
  • Disinfectants / administration & dosage*
  • Female
  • Gels / administration & dosage
  • Hand Disinfection / methods*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Influenza, Human / epidemiology*
  • Influenza, Human / prevention & control*
  • Male
  • Thailand
  • Time Factors


  • Alcohols
  • Disinfectants
  • Gels