The Lifebuoy Cost of Infection study — Do you know how much you spend on common infections?
Find out what the Lifebuoy Cost of Infection study reveals about how much we spend when our kids are ill, and how the simple act of hand-washing can help minimise these costs.
When your child is sick with an illness such as Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease (HFMD) or Influenza, the foremost and most important thing in your mind would most likely be nurturing your little one back to good health.
In such a situation, how much you spend on medication, doctor's fees, medical tests and the like would be the last thing on your mind — all you want is your child to get better.
However, it is an unignorable fact that illness — especially when it involves a child — is expensive and we often end up with massive medical bills after the child recovers.
With this in mind, we bring you some very interesting information from the Lifebuoy Cost of Infection study.
The Lifebuoy Cost of Infection study — What you need to know
The Lifebuoy Cost of Infection study is the first local study on the financial impact of common childhood infections. 300 mothers were surveyed in March this year to ascertain the impact of common childhood infections.
The study also sought to understand maternal attitudes on the prevention of childhood infections, in particular the importance of hand-washing.
All mothers surveyed had a child under 12 years old who had at least one episode of respiratory infection (flu, cough, cold and fever), skin infection (rashes, blisters and prickly heat), diarrhoea and/or HFMD in the 6 months prior to the study.
Find out more about the Lifebuoy Cost of Infection study on the next page...
According to the study...
- Local families spend upwards of S$150 on average for each episode of childhood infection (e.g. respiratory and skin infections, diarrhea and HFMD), and nearly S$1,000 in indirect costs.
- The average opportunity and medical costs for HFMD are the highest compared to other common childhood infections.
- Nearly 6 in 10 children who are down with common infections or HFMD lose up to 5 days of school, while their parents lose up to 5 days of work.
- Up to 7 in 10 mothers worry about the impact on their child’s education if they were absent from school because of an illness.
- More than 7 in 10 mothers believe infection-causing germs are getting stronger and harder to fight.
- Less than 1 in 10 mothers cite handwashing as an important method to prevent their children from falling ill.
The Lifebuoy Cost of Infection Study also revealed that mothers spent an average of S$155 — including consultation fees, medicine charges and transport costs — to treat each episode of these everyday infections.
The amount paid out to treat each episode of HFMD is again the highest (S$207) compared to other infections, and it is more than 70% in excess of the average spent to treat per episode of respiratory diseases (S$121), the most common childhood infection based on the Lifebuoy Cost of Infection Study.
An average of S$163 and S$151 were used to treat per episode of skin infections and diarrhoea respectively.
HFMD FACT: The incidence of this disease soared from 6,411 cases in 2004 to 31,779 cases in 2013 — an almost 400% surge in the last decade!
Want to know more about hand hygiene? Go to the next page...
Mums and hand hygiene
According to Prof Paul Anantharajah Tambyah, President, Society of Infectious Diseases (Singapore):
Hand hygiene has been shown across the world to be highly cost-effective in reducing common childhood infections. Increasing hand hygiene at home and at school is likely to be a good way to reduce infections and save costs for the family.
The Lifebuoy Cost of Infection Study examined how mothers believe they can prevent their kids from falling ill and the results are somewhat worrying when it comes to their knowledge of how hand hygiene can help.
- Most mums believed a healthy diet was the uppermost preventive measure in relation to fighting germs.
- Less than 1 in 10 mothers mentioned regular hand-washing as a precautionary method, though 9 in 10 of them claimed their families do wash their hands with an anti-bacterial soap.
- Only about 7 in 10 children washed their hands before and after handling food, after play and when they come home from being outside.
How to achieve proper hand hygiene?
Thorough bathing and hand-washing with an anti-bacterial soap such as Lifebuoy can help reduce the spread of common childhood infections.
Teach your child to always wash his or her hands...
- after using the toilet;
- before eating;
- after playing outside;
- after playing with another child's toys;
- when she/she comes back home from school/preschool;
- after sneezing, coughing or blowing his/her nose when sick;
The following chart shows the correct way of hand-washing:
Parents, with one simple act of hygiene — washing your and your family's hands properly and bathing with an anti-bacterial soap such as Lifebuoy — you won't just help protect your kids against common childhood illnesses, but also eliminate or drastically reduce the burden of costs involved in treating such diseases.
How often does your child wash his/her hands a day? And do you use an anti-bacterial soap? Leave a comment and let us know.
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