Monday, May 4, 2009

Handwashing 101

So, the answer to reducing your chances of getting swine flu, brace yourselves for this astounding revelation, HAND WASHING.

Really? That's all they could come up with? Seems like a pretty lazy recommendation.

Around the globe there are now people frantically buying out store shelves of anti-bacterial hand soap and rushing to sinks everywhere. There are signs and posters going up of "How To Properly Wash Your Hands" and even my children's school sent home a newsletter spelling out how we should be taking these steps to ensure our hands are clean.

Here's my question. WHO are all of you disgusting people who didn't wash your hands normally????? BEFORE all this?? Wait. Don't answer that. I really don't think I want to know.

Ask my children, or even my neighbours and friends. They would all agree I've ALWAYS been a bit of a freak (ie germaphobe) about hand washing. My kids have it ingrained in their heads from birth practically that we wash our hands after we come inside from being, well generally, anywhere out in the world. We get off a city bus, we wash our hands. We play outside, we wash our hands. They come home from school, first thing they do is wash their hands. Before any meal, they wash their hands. Isn't this information people follow everyday in their normal routines???? The fact that it is not, for some people, scares the poop out of me. (go wash my hands!)

Now, I do think this whole cleanliness, hand washing business can go a little too far. I have other friends (and you know who you are) that are so fastidious with cleaning and keeping their homes and children spotless, that they no longer have any immunity to fight germs. I think you need to be exposed to some dirt and grime in order to build up protective antibodies. That's not science. That's just Tracey Theory. It helps my sanity when my home is less than dust free. You know, makes me feel a little less guilty. "Ahhh, I'm HELPING them."

I also think anti-bacterial hand soaps are generally awful for you, so I don't buy them. My kids skin after using them for two days was like sandpaper, as well as cracked and bleeding. And I don't think cracks are the best way to prevent the spread of viruses. Don't even get me started on the toxins they contain. So, we use good old fashioned normal (albeit natural) soap. Yesterday, I went out and bought an all natural hand soap product that contains Rosemary, Peppermint and Tea Tree. It's a natural anti-bacterial soap but can be used on face, hands, body and is great for sensitive skin and even rashes. (for Canadians interested in the company- I think she ships or will be.

But really, if that is all that can be done to avoid this Swine Flu, then I think we should be better than okay here. Our lives routinely involve frequent hand washing!

For all of you for whom this is a novelty, I hope in future that this starts a "trend" of umm hygienic practices for you. So, if you have to, go on the net and google hand washing practices. Post them on your fridge or on your mirror above your sink. Stay on top of your grimy kids hand washing (really, you never know where kids hands have been. I pretty much do so....Ya. Stay on top of that, for all of our sakes!) And do much hand washing of your own.

The world will thank you.


  1. I had to laugh...I have a cousin who is a serious germ a phobe...won't even use bathrooms at relatives houses. I don;t consider myself even close to being a germ a phobe, but being clean is a priority. My biggest thing, and I;m sure I look somewhat silly, I always carry antibacterial hand gel in my purse, and when i go tot eh store, I squirt some in my hand and smear it all over the cart handle and the sides, basically anywhere that i think Emerson will touch. And I don;t buy any antibacterial soaps either...i read too much germ killing stuff is bad...makes them immune. Plain old soap is all you need!

  2. It always amazes me the number of women that I see that do not wash their hands after using the restroom. Did their mothers not teach them anything? It's silly down here that they have closed schools. Do they really think these kids aren't going to touch anything when they are out and about?

  3. Oh Carole I know! I'm always horrified and shake my head or say out loud "gross." LOL Subtle I am not. I can never believe it either. And then they go out into the restaurant and EAT? What? Shudder.