“Why Hand Washing Really Could Slow Down an Epidemic”

Did you know that 30% of people do not wash their hands?

It seems so simple, wash your hands often to help stop the spread of illness. It’s almost a cliche, we’ve heard it to much that we don’t even process the words.

This image was published earlier this month and it’s pretty powerful. I love putting a visual to a point, especially with my kids. Isn’t it interesting that the simplest routine could help keep you healthy?

What gets talked about less than “wash your hands” is the fact that most people don’t wash them correctly. Of the 70% of people who wash, only 1/2 do it right. You need to wash your whole hand, this takes time. Claire, my 3-year-old, was rushing her hand washing last month. So I taught her to sing the “Happy Birthday” song while she washes, to slow her down (of course, you could also just count to 20, the optimal amount of time.) In a world where expedience is key, sometimes slowing down is necessary to save us time later (how many sick days did you and your kids take last year? If time is money, aren’t those extra seconds worth it?)

Now, in the midst of the recent coronavirus outbreak, correctly washing the hands remains public health officials’ top advice when it comes to controlling infection rates.

-Medical News Today

Thinking about Spring Break

It is estimated that 1 in 5 people in an airport did not wash their hands after going to the bathroom. (I know, so gross.) Short of assigning a nagging mother outside the stalls (WASH YOUR HANDS) our only choice is to protect ourselves.

And I know you’ve all heard the one about how your tray table has more germs than the toilet seat on the airplane. Now imagine your lap top on said tray table, then that lab tops travels back to your house with you, and ends up on your kitchen counter. Yep, that’s how germs spread. It’s upsetting, but also VERY cool. Thinking like this can actually help us stay well, and help stop the spread of contagious disease. It’s the little things that pile up and matter.

Hand Washing at the Bone Marrow Transplant Isolation Unit

Reese lived in the BMT unit for 8 months. There is a set of double doors that separates this unit from the rest of the hospital. Before you enter, there is a hand washing station with little scrub brushes and a strict rule- wash for 2 minutes before entering. Why? Because that is how you get rid of germs, and that is one way we kept Reese SAFE.

Two minutes is a long time. Just ask the grandparents, who were usually responsible for the 2-year-old’s hands. I’m not saying you need to set up a hand washing station with scrub brushes and a timer… unless maybe you are getting home from the airport. But setting up important habits like this in our kids (wash your hands at our “station” when you get home) can help.

Sanitizer vs Hand Soap

Soap is the gold standard. But sadly, we don’t always carry a sink with us. But it’s easy to pop a hand sanitizer into your bag for the in between moments. You know that I have tips on how to do this without inviting endocrine disrupting chemicals or carcinogens into your life, too. And I chose options that are comparable in price and readily available (there is no reason to make this difficult!)

My Favorite Non-Toxic Hand Soap- Everyone Hand Soap

  • Amazon Prime – 3 for $10.32
  • Target – 1 for $3.49 (Online. It is not available in Glenview or Highland Park, they DO stock it in Vernon Hills.)
  • Whole Foods – 1 for $4.99

My KIDS’ favorite non-toxic sanitizer (because if they like it, they will use it) – Dr. Bronner’s Spray

  • Whole Foods Store – $4.99
  • Whole Foods Delivery – $3.99
  • Target – $4.99 online
  • Dr. Bronner’s Website – offers free shipping over $35. Dr. Bronner’s is a great CLEAN company, so depending on your current “replacing” needs, you might be able to shop here every other month and not pay shipping. (My husband uses the bar soap and also the shower soap, both CLEAN!)

SOME EASY PRO TIPS:

When my kids get in the car after school, I spray their hands with Dr. Bronner’s. When they walk in the house, they wash.

When we are in a store, we take off our gloves (you can’t quickly sanitize gloves, and they touch the same things.) Before we leave the store, we spray sanitize and then put on our gloves.

Use those wipes that stores provide and wipe your cart. I also carry a travel size in my purse, they are lightweight and save the day often.

Wipe down the doctor’s office room before your kids sit down. This includes the chairs and the part of the table not covered by the piece of white paper. This is where the last kid (who might have had influenza) sat.

Use the masks the doctor’s office provides. Also pay attention to where you sit in the office, some spots are designated for sick vs well visits.

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