Global Handwashing Day: Washing hands regularly to get rid of germs is an important habit to learn.
By Rishu Gandhi
Handwashing is the first basic lesson for kids to learn as they’re growing up and possibly the lesson for life. Washing hands before eating has been a must ever since we can remember, since it’s known fact that dirty hands invite various diseases. Common diseases include upset stomach or stomach aches in kids, which can get worse if symptoms like vomiting and diarrhea start to appear.
As a parent, one should endeavour to incorporate the following in their children’s daily routine:
When should kids be encouraged to wash their hands?
Before eating and after eating.
Coming from a doctor’s clinic or hospital, as these places are laden with different kind of bacteria and viruses.
After coming from outside, like a grocery store, petrol pumps, play areas, school, etc., as you may be in contact with several unknown people, whose health status you are not aware of.
Before touching a newborn, as they have a very weak immune system and should be allowed to be touched only with clean hands.
After visiting a sick person, as they may carry back germs which can be harmful for their health.
After using toilets as this is the place where most of the harmful germs reside in a house.
After blowing their nose.
After handling pets and their feed.
After touching garbage.
Before and after applying medicines.
How should they wash their hands?
They need to wet their hands with clean water and then apply soap on them.
Generate lather by rubbing their hands together and apply it at the back of the palms, between fingers, under the nails thoroughly.
Scrubbing should be done for over 20 seconds.
Rinsing should be done under clean running water.
They should then dry their hands using a clean towel or air-dryer.
However, in the absence of soap or clean water, kids can use sanitisers or wipes. Wipes can be used when hands are visibly dirty, before using alcohol-based sanitisers. The latter don’t remove the germs completely and there is always danger of the chemicals remaining on hands.
Kids look up to their parents and copy their habits, so one should practice these things before preaching to the kids. However, parents can set reminders for kids on a constant basis till they get into a routine of doing things like washing hands before eating and after coming from the toilet. These need to be the first basic lesson for kids in hand hygiene.
(The writer is Founder & Head Brand Strategy, Mother Sparsh.)