Updated: 05/05/2014 23:32

Most surveyed unaware regular washing of hands will prevent children from catching germs



Most surveyed unaware regular washing of hands will prevent children from catching germs

A study on the cost of childhood infections in the Republic has found that hand, food and mouth disease (HFMD) has an opportunity cost of just over a thousand dollars for families whose children fall prey to the disease. 

Researchers arrived at this figure by considering the number of work days parents lose when caring for their child and that loss of income.

In contrast, the opportunity costs of other common childhood infections - respiratory, diarrhoea and skin infections - were only around $700.

The total medical bill of HFMD was also higher at over $200 compared to the average of $140 for all four categories. 

President of the Society of Infectious Diseases (Singapore), Professor Paul Tambyah, says the study of some 300 mothers also found that there was a "knowledge gap" in their attitudes towards prevention of such infections. 

While 60 per cent of mothers surveyed believe they can prevent their child from falling ill with a healthy diet, only six per cent mentioned they could do so with regular hand wash. 

This is despite hand washing being "an effective way of protecting yourself and your loved ones against these germs", as stated on the Health Promotion Board's website.

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