The Co-operative Pharmacy is promoting good hand hygiene after research by the multiple found that children's school attendance was being affected by illnesses that could be prevented by hand washing.
The research found that one in 10 children under the age of 10 had missed between one and two weeks of school because of contagious illnesses that could have been avoided by good hand hygiene.
The Co-operative called the results "worrying" and said its pharmacists would be giving advice to patients in branches, alongside selling hand washes in to raise awareness of the issue.
One in seven parents had never taught their children how to wash their hands properly, the research also found.
"Parents often don't realise that they are putting their child at risk by not teaching them the basic principles of good hand hygiene. Introducing all family members to a hand washing routine reduces the risk of contracting serious infections, but also spreading them amongst family and friends," said Co-operative pharmacist Alison Lyons.
"The new school term will see many children in one place, all sharing resources, and as the classroom can be a breeding ground for germs that cause colds and flu, it is the perfect time to promote good habits in the home," she added.
The Co-operative's latest awareness campaign comes alongside their three-year partnership with UNICEF, aimed at promoting hygiene and improving basic sanitation in Togo, Africa.
This includes the sale of a Co-operative ‘life saving hand wash', from which a donation is made to UNICEF.
To find out how Co-operative Pharmacy branch manager Padraig McGuinness has been getting on during his visit to Togo, read his latest blog post.