Can flu-like absenteeism in kindergartens be reduced through hand hygiene training for both parents and their kindergarteners?

Pui Lai OR, Patricia Tai-Yin CHING, Wai Yee Joanne CHUNG

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Background: Hand hygiene has been found as an effective method to prevent the spread of infectious diseases. Parents, however, were found to have inadequate knowledge, reporting skills, and parenting practices related to seasonal influenza. The aim of our study was to investigate if there was any correlation between the flu infection among parents and their kindergarteners and ascertain the effectiveness of using hand hygiene interventions in kindergartens to lower kindergarteners' absenteeism attributable to seasonal flu. Methods: This study was a quasi-experimental study with a pretest-posttest design. Fifteen kindergartens were randomly selected from the kindergarten lists in different districts displayed on the Hong Kong government website. From these 15 kindergartens, parents and their kindergarteners were then randomly selected to participate in our hand hygiene program. To support the validity of the program, the WHO hand hygiene checklist was used to ensure sufficient coverage of the objectives. All kindergarteners attended 45-minute session for 4 weeks, while their parents attended a separate session lasting 1 hour. Parents monitored their kindergartners on a daily basis for any flu symptoms and kindergartens monitored their school attendance. Results: The study results showed that kindergarteners with strong parenting and proper hand hygiene compliance had fewer recorded signs and symptoms of flu-like illnesses. Our findings also showed that the kindergarteners' absence rates in all participating kindergartens owing to flu decreased from 21.5% to 12% of the study period in 3 months. Conclusion: It was found that the flu infection rates of the parents and their kindergarteners were significantly correlated with P = .005. The awareness and personal hygiene skills of the parents and kindergarteners were both raised after the program. The findings in this study supported that positive parenting on hand hygiene can help reduce kindergarteners' flu-like absenteeism. Copyright © 2020 The Author(s).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-6
JournalJournal of Primary Care & Community Health
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2020



Or, P. P.-L., Ching, P. T.-Y., & Chung, J. W.-Y. (2020). Can flu-like absenteeism in kindergartens be reduced through hand hygiene training for both parents and their kindergarteners? Journal of Primary Care & Community Health, 11, 1-6. doi: 10.1177/2150132719901209


  • Behavioral health
  • Children
  • Health promotion
  • Prevention
  • Community health