Did you know about National Handwashing Awareness week? Yea, neither did I until recently. And it strikes home for me for some, probably, odd reasons.
National Handwashing Awareness Week is the first full week of December every year. This is not to be confused with Global Handwashing Day, which is every October 15. So many special days focused on handwashing! But for good reason. Properly washing your hands can prevent respiratory and intestinal diseases, food-borne illnesses, etc. Plus, clean hands feel so much better, don’t you think?.
Why does handwashing matter so much to me? In 2012 my, then, three month old was admitted to the PICU with RSV. Was handwashing a contributing factor? Who knows?! After that our families did take washing our hands more seriously.
When I was pumping breastmilk at work for our second child, the Mothers Room was a room inside of the restroom. I spent three times per day at the bathroom sink carefully washing all those pieces. I lost count of how many times I saw women walk in, go inside a stall, and walk out. No stop at the sinks! Some argue that “maybe that person did not actual use the toilet, maybe she was adjusting her clothing.” Regardless, you’re still touching the lock to the door, and you are walking past a very convenient sink. When in doubt, wash your hands.
For some people, cleanliness and germs become an obsession. Obsessive handwashing can be a sign OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder). If your child or someone you love seem to be overly obsessed with washing their hands, you can discuss your concerns with their doctor.
My five-year-old did go through a phase of washing his hand way too often. Around three, he was very concerned about keeping his hands clean. This was also around the time we and daycare urged him to go wash his hands every time he picked his nose. We all thought if he had to take time out of his play to go wash his hands, it would cut back on his nose-picking.
Of course it backfired! His hands became so dry and irritated! Many hand moisturizers later, and probably the pain of the dry, cracking skin, the nose picking has did ceased, and with that the hand washing returned to normal frequency.
We still carry hand sanitizer with us everywhere. Just in case. Especially after that time in church he picked his nose and had a major meltdown that he needs to go wash his hands.