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Prevalence of Skin Infections and Hygiene Practices among Pupils in selected Public Primary Schools in Ibadan, Nigeria

OM Morakinyo, GREE Ana, EO Oloruntoba

Abstract


Skin diseases are among the common childhood problems of public health importance in Nigeria. Poor personal hygiene practices especially among children are believed to be contributory to its prevalence. This study assessed the prevalence of skin infections and practices in relation to hygiene among public primary school children in Ibadan, Nigeria. A descriptive cross-sectional design was adopted. A simple random sampling method was used in selecting five public primary schools from the seventy-six schools in Ibadan North Local Government Area, Nigeria. Physical examination of 1,109 pupils in primaries three to six by Physicians in five schools was used to assess the presence of skin infections. Microscopic examination of scalp scrapings from pupils diagnosed with skin infection was done so as to identify the causative organisms. Semi-structured interviewer administered questionnaire was used in obtaining information on socio-demographic information, personal hygiene and treatment practices. Data were analysed using descriptive statistics. The mean age of the infected children was 11.0 (1.93) years. Clinically diagnosed cases of skin infections were found in 260 (23.4%) pupils, with more males (77.7%) infected than females (22.3%). Types of skin infections diagnosed were Tineacapitis (93.8%); Pityriasisversicolor (3.1%) and Skin furuncles (0.4%) while (2.7%) had multiple infections. The identified causative dermatophytes from the scalp scrapings were Trichophytonmentagrophytes (72.0%) and Trichophytontonsurans (28.0%). Proportion of infections among pupils were, primary three (33.5%); primary four (29.6%); primary five (19.2%) and (17.7%) for primary six. Pupils whose parents’ do not live together accounted for 65.0% of the infected pupils compared to 35.0% whose parents stay together. About 73.4% reported they had at least one person with skin infection in their homes. About 77.0% of the cases were found in children living in crowded conditions of more than three persons per standard room; sharing of items (comb, bed, towel) was reported in 93.1% of cases. Of the 120 positive cases, 54.2% reported they take bathing their bath once daily; the remaining 45.8% bathe twice daily. Practices in the treatment of infections like the use of herbal soap (31.5%), brake oil (4.2%), Baby oil (3.9%), chicken’s egg (2.7%) were reported by respondents. Poor personal hygiene and housing conditions are contributing factors to skin infections in the study area. Early introduction of health education in schools would encourage pupils to imbibe culture of personal cleanliness.

Key words: Skin infections, school pupils, hygiene practices

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