Personal hygiene practices and related skin diseases among primary school children of urban poor locality

Ravish S. Haradanhalli, Ramya Mandya Prashanth, Nitu Kumari, Iswarya Siddhareddy, Pradeepkumar D. P., Jithin Surendran


Background: Government of India has launched ‘Swachh Bharat Swachh Vidyalaya’ initiative in 2014, with emphasis on promoting safe and hygiene practices among school children. Providing easy access to hygiene and health education regarding personal hygiene is a simple and cost effective tool for prevention and control of hygiene related health problems including skin diseases. Objectives of the study were to assess the personal hygiene practices of primary school children and to find out the skin diseases related to personal hygiene practices.

Methods: The study was conducted among 12 primary schools in an urban poor locality. The availability of hygiene facilities in all the schools was noted. The hygiene practices among the children were collected using pre-designed, semi-structured proforma and clinical examination was done to find out skin diseases among them. Subsequently, all school children were given health education regarding correct hygiene practices. The data was analysed using mean, percentages and Chi-square test.

Results: The study included 1404 students. Among them 40.7% took bath daily, 53.7% wore washed undergarments, uniform and socks daily, 56.5% had trimmed nails and 76.7% washed hands with soap and water before eating and after using toilet. On examination, 475 (33.8%) had skin diseases like pityriasis alba (13.2%), pediculosis capitis (12.3%), pyoderma (4.6%) and others. There was significant association between skin diseases and hygiene practices (p<0.001).

Conclusions: Improper hygiene practices were associated with skin diseases. Therefore, regular social and behavioural change communication activities on hygiene practices has to be imparted for school children to prevent related skin diseases.


Personal hygiene, Practices, Skin diseases, School children, Urban poor

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