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It was a lazy Sunday evening when my daughter came running to me asking to prepare some quick snack for her. My husband who was “too full” to have anything even for the dinner and who was too lazy to even move his finger to change the awfully boring movie, suddenly sat upright on the sofa to add his set of Sunday cravings to the list. After a decade of being married, if there is one thing that he has skilfully learnt, that is to sense danger! He, therefore, tried to cover up his blunder by quickly acknowledging my great cooking skills and reminding me that he simply can’t resist a home-made snack. Realizing that it didn’t do any good to alleviate the symptoms of danger, he finally offered to help with the preparation. He surely knows what works at such times!
As I began the preparation by washing my hands, I heard my husband calling out to me from across the room saying, “What are you washing it for?” To my dismay, even my daughter joined in to say that I keep washing hands every so often. I secretly fought the urge to taunt my husband if his mother never told him exactly when and why should we wash hands for. That was, perhaps, the toughest thing I did that day!
But, soon, I realized that a lot of learned elders and children alike don’t realize the importance of washing hands. It even gives some of them a “cool” or a “macho” feeling and their ignorance is worrisome. I decided to take it upon myself to educate the ill-informed inhabitants of my house, who want to stay the way they are just out of sheer laziness to change: definitely not a good reason to invite infections!
I told my daughter that the hands and mouth are like the ‘bestest’ of friends who are inseparable through thick and thin. What do we do when we have to think? We fiddle with our chin! When we are nervous, we bite our nails and when we are utterly awed or surprised we again close our mouth with the typical “Miss-India-patented-gesture”. It’s not only the children, we all unconsciously summon its services throughout our day as we touch anything and everything, while mindlessly caressing our face when we are tired, when we brush aside the hair, when we eat and even when we are doing nothing at all.
All this while we don’t realize the umpteen number of germs that the hands carry to the mouth from where they enter the body and render the person sick.
My hubby and daughter were quick to protest that they were home all day and, therefore, earned their laziness to not wash their hands! However, the germs don’t come only from outside or the toilet seats alone, there are many common household things which are dirtier than a toilet seat and are a thriving ground for bacteria – the underside of the bags, TV controllers, mobile phones, tablets, keyboard, kitchen sink, toys, carpet, kitchen sponge, switches and soap itself, since it is used by many. Who would realize that these could be dirtier than the toilet seats?
I told her how people, like her Dad, have the habit of looking at their hands for dirt or grime and if it’s not visibly dirty then it’s believed to be clean. When you are just dusting your hands or, even worse, wiping it to your clothes you are simply multiplying germs. Another school of people think that washing it with soap is just as good and wonder why they fall ill so often! Soaps do clean the dirt, but are often not potent enough to kill the harmful germs.
With growing pollution and a variety of illnesses rearing its head, claiming many lives, what we really need is a powerful hand wash that can kill most of the germs apart from removing visible dirt. Now, there are even hand sanitizers available which can be easily carried along everywhere without worrying if you will find a place to wash your hands!
I, therefore, emphasised on the point that no matter what you are doing or where you are, there can’t be any valid excuse to why you cannot eat with clean hands or just keep it clean even otherwise to keep infections at bay. Laziness and a baseless belief that your hands “look” clean can be used as an argument with fellow human beings, but certainly not with germs!
Having surrendered with no more logical reasons to further the argument, both Daddy and daughter quietly washed their hands clean with the Dettol hand wash waiting for them near the wash basin. I even urged both of them put the tiny, handy bottles of Dettol hand sanitizer in their bags so they can readily use it anytime on the go! My husband being a frequent traveller it will be of much use to him and my daughter’s school also encourages the use of hand sanitizers considering that children catch infections more often at schools. I think that is the least, I as a mother, could do to ensure my family stays safe.
A few days after our lazy sunday debate, we saw this Dettol ad on TV, and my daughter immediately got hooked to the catchy jingle!