Hand sanitiser obsession--good or bad?
Find out if a parent’s obsession for cleanliness is for the better or not. Perhaps your child would be better off with some dirt and germs. Hand sanitisers claim to kill 99.9% of all bacteria. This is good right? Wrong. Read this mum’s experience and conclusion about over-sanitising.
My daughter comes home from each of her preschool holiday parties with a small gift bag from various classroom parents. The gift bags usually contain small toys, trinkets, and a few pieces of candy. Last year’s Easter gift bags were the same as always with a plastic ring, a lollipop, some other random toys, and a small container of hand sanitiser. Wait, what? Hand sanitizer? What the heck is that doing in there? I thought it was a mistake at first until I asked another mom. Her daughter got one in her gift bag too. I knew everyone was obsessed, but I hadn’t realized that we were so obsessed with the supposed “miracle germ remover” that bottles are now replacing toys in gift bags?
Our obsession with hand sanitiser is obvious by the fact that we never have to walk more than ten feet without it being available. There are dispensers in doctor’s offices, one on every other corner in hospitals, bottles on everyone’s work desk, sanitising wipes available all throughout grocery stores, teachers have hand sanitizer in all classrooms, and all the women I know carries small bottles in their purses and/or diaper bags. One woman that I know who is a self-proclaimed “germophobe” lathers hand sanitiser all over herself and her daughter whenever either of them come into contact with anything that may have touched anything with bacteria on it. I want to tell her that she is better off just living in a plastic bubble, but I don’t want to offend. Ironically her daughter is constantly sick. She says, “Just think how much more often she would be sick if I wasn’t so vigilant about my cleaning efforts.”
So is it ironic that she is always sick despite her mother’s battle with bacteria? Hand sanitisersclaim to kill 99.9% of all bacteria. This is good right? Wrong. Not all types of bacteria are bad. Some types are actually helpful towards the immune system. The hand sanitiser that we are so diligent about doesn’t scan the surface; attacking the bad bacteria while leaving the good safely in place. Instead, the sanitiser just wipes away everything. We are basically killing off all the good soldiers along with the bad because we cannot tell the difference by their uniforms.
Obviously hand sanitisers has its place in our world as there are definite times when it is needed. When your toddler picks up some slob’s cigarette butt off the ground, the sanitiser is definitely needed. When your toddler barely brushes their hand against a wall, the hand sanitiser is probably not so necessary. Use your common sense and your own parenting instincts, but please remember that the hand sanitiser was not around during most of our childhoods and we somehow survived. Some of us barely even washed our hands. (GASP!)
Article by Christy R
Christy Rasmussen is the mother of one very active preschooler with baby #2 due in December. She holds degrees in business and in political science/government, but discovered her love of writing after starting a blog for fun about her parenting experiences.
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