Eschew! And God Bless You!

by DavalosMcCormack on March 19, 2008

I have a wonderful nephew who has just turned 3, so we went to his fabulous birthday party on Saturday! He is such fun, so alive so excited about his birthday! He just started pre-school and loves it. Life is good.

He was just getting over a cold which was the third one since he began hanging out with the pre-school set. He had a brand new remote control car that he wanted to show me. So I took the remote that he handed me and we were having a great time handing it back and forth and making the car go where we wanted it to. Then my sister came over and said, “be sure to wash your hands when you’re finished.” I was suddenly aware that the remote was crawling with all the germs of the remnants of Shane’s cold and the pre-school class whom I have yet to meet. I washed my hands with soap and water and then I got to wonder…

Can hand-sanitizers guard me from the pre-school germs, from the kid-spreading viral-infecting, coughing and sneezing, ear-nose-and-throat-aching factors that can slam a normally healthy adult to the ground forcing them to be sniveling, stuffy, bags of ….. Well, you get the picture.

It was at this time, I’m sorry to say that this sweet, happy, kind, sharing little boy turned into a huge puss ball of sickness-to-come. Well, perhaps not that dramatic, but I did go wash my hands!

Yes, it is true, I came back to my trusty computer to ask: Do hand sanitizers save you from a fate close to death? And guess what?! Harvard researchers wanted to know the same as I! Are alcohol-based hand sanitizing gels effective in keeping people save from pre-school sicknesses?

So they took some families who had at least one child in pre-school divided them into two groups and asked one group to put alcohol-based hand sanitizers all over the house, in the kitchen, bathrooms, kids rooms, nursery. The families were encouraged to use them after the bathroom, before food prep, generally whenever they thought it appropriate. Guess what, my friends? The families with the hand sanitizers had 59% fewer cold and influenza incidents! It works!

So alcohol-based hand sanitizers can kill germs, true, but they should be used in addition to a hearty stint at the sink, washing with soap and water while singing Happy Birthday, which apparently provides a nice interlude and takes 15 seconds to sing which is apparently – according to health experts – the right amount of time to ensure that germs go down the drain and your hands emerge clean and fresh.

You see, sanitizers are best when they are used in conjunction with soap and water, not instead of, because they were intended for the health care industry where doctors, nurses, and healthcare workers are constantly washing up and using the gels as well. It makes sense doesn’t it? Wash your hands when you can, and use the sanitzers when water isn’t available, like at the gym between free weights.
So, when we all sang Happy Birthday to Shane and he blew out all the candles on his cupcake tower, I made sure that the cupcake I got was one out of target range of the drool that managed to create a virus infested puddle on the cupcake in front of him.

Happy Birthday Shane!

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