Hand hygiene in children: is washing still enough?

thing is frequent and thorough washing of hands - it is worth teaching children this from an early age. Hand hygiene in children.

Hand hygiene in children: is washing still enough?
Hand hygiene in children: is washing still enough?

Does your child already know the rhyme about hand washing and how to do it? The concern for clean hands - both our own and our children - has become particularly relevant recently. In conditions of an epidemiological threat, it becomes necessary to follow a more stringent sanitary regime. Below we suggest how to best care for the hygiene of children's hands - not only in the era of the coronavirus pandemic. The most important thing is frequent and thorough washing of hands - it is worth teaching children this from an early age. Hand hygiene in children.

Hygiene, don't overdo it

As the results of the research so far show - in adults with hygiene, not only of their hands, it can be different, which results in the lack of appropriate habits in the younger generation, which is most easily learned by observing parents or guardians. However, when a small child appears in the house (especially the first in the family), it happens that concern for his health drives the household members to the other extreme. Knowing about the need to keep a toddler clean and wanting to provide him with the best possible conditions, it is easy to overdo it - bathing too often and wiping with wet wipes, constantly scalding the nipple, not allowing the thumb to be put in the mouth, disinfecting everything around, etc. No this is the way, although taking care of the hygiene of hands with which we touch practically everything is certainly not an exaggeration. Let us make hand washing for children a hygienic habit as soon as possible.

Excessive sterility is harmful

Excessive cleanliness is not good for children's health - quite the contrary. By doing this, we deprive our children of contact with bacteria, other microorganisms and allergens, which negatively affects the immunity of a young organism, which has no chance to learn to fight them. Hygienic over-zealousness (especially when using disinfectants) promotes the development of allergies, which are becoming an increasingly serious problem in children. On the other hand, dirty hands are home to many microbes that can easily enter the body, causing health-threatening diseases - some of which are often referred to as "dirty hands diseases" (hepatitis A, food jaundice).

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The best soapy water

Washing your hands - for children and adults - is the best way to keep them clean. Even taking into account the current situation, in which the whole world is struggling with COVID-19, it is worth promoting thorough washing of hands with the use of soap and warm water for children. Parents sometimes ask if there are any specific hand washing instructions for children. The same rules apply as for adults, i.e. warm water and thorough washing of the entire surface of the hands and wrists, lasting at least 30 seconds. The truth is that if we kept in mind a few simple rules regarding hand hygiene and instilled them in our children, additional disinfection of them - apart from such situations as, for example, injury or abrasion of the skin - would not be actually needed or it would be necessary at most sporadically, mainly outside the home.

Disinfect your hands or not?

The issue of using disinfectants in children has always been controversial - experts do not recommend their daily use, especially at home. The problem is that little ones tend to touch different surfaces and often touch their faces and put their fingers and objects in their mouths. However, there is no better or safer method than washing your hands frequently - for children of all ages. When outside the house, it is also worth making sure that our children do not touch, for example, door handles, intercom buttons, bollards, etc. To older children, try to calmly explain why they should not do this. In the case of children over 6 years of age, taking into account the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus pandemic, it is permissible to use agents (e.g. in the form of a gel) for hygienic disinfection by rubbing, as long as they have a simple and safe composition - without fragrances that may be irritating or allergenic to the skin and mucous membranes.

Let's teach healthy habits

The instructions for washing hands for children are the same as for adults - especially at the beginning, it is worth doing this together with your toddler to show him how to do it. Before we set an example for our children, however, we should make sure we wash our hands properly. Learning in the form of fun will certainly work here - an example may be the poem about washing hands mentioned at the beginning.

In conclusion, it is our parental responsibility to keep our children's hands clean and to instill good hygiene habits in them. It is worth taking the time and attention to ensure that washing children's hands is taken for granted as soon as possible. Let us teach them to do this activity not only frequently, but also as accurately as possible. In the case of toddlers, it is better not to use disinfectants. In children over 6 years of age, it is acceptable, as long as we choose a safe and proven product for them, and then we make sure that they use it only when necessary. By overusing disinfectants, we can achieve the opposite of the intended effect.