, Volume 32, Issue 1, pp 2-7

The Effect of Enhanced Hygiene Practices on Absences Due to Infectious Diseases among Children in Day Care Centers in Helsinki

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Abstract.

Background:

The occurrence of contagious diseases among children attending day care centers (DCCs) is high. The possibility of reducing absences due to infections with an infection prevention program was investigated.

Materials and Methods:

The intervention study was conducted as an open, controlled cluster study. It included 60 municipal DCCs in one of the seven districts of the City of Helsinki; 228 DCCs in the other six districts served as controls. The main indicator was the occurrence of absences due to upper respiratory tract infections, otitis media, eye infection and diarrhea per child-month.

Results:

The intervention reduced the absences due to infections by 26% among under 3-year olds, but not among older children. The same phenomenon was observed when similar paired random control DCCs were compared with the intervention DCCs.

Conclusion:

Effective prevention of absences due to infections is possible among under 3-year olds by implementing a simple and inexpensive infection control program.