Updated: Feb 25
Of course... I write about anything you might talk about around the table... and we know cleanliness is extremely important in the kitchen... but also everywhere else in life! It's just common sense.
28 years ago, my friend had a baby a few months before I had my first. I was at her house and she was getting ready to bathe the baby. As I was chatting with her, I realized that she said that she’d bathed her the night before. So, I asked her why she was giving her a bath 2 days in a row… did she have a blowout diaper or something? But no… she just said she bathed her EVERY night before bed. All of a sudden, I wondered… am I supposed to bathe my babies (I had twins!!!) EVERY NIGHT?!
The next time I went to the pediatrician I asked him about it and this is what he said…
“We are the most over cleansed, over sanitized country in the world…and we are the sickest!” (Dr. Melvin Stern, Highland, MD-1991)
What I learned back then, as a new mom, was that I was doing it right. I washed my kids when they were dirty. Otherwise I washed their hands and faces after they ate, wiped their little butts when they pooped and actually dunked them fully in the tub when they NEEDED it.
Today, we are faced with the fear of a new disease: the Corona Virus.
I want to take what I learned, with a little added research I did, and offer my thoughts.
I learned from Dr. Stern way back when that our skin is our biggest organ and we soak in the outside world through it. Our natural oils are our first layer of protection and the more we wash the more we wash off our first line of defense. Now this doesn’t mean never washing, but it does matter how often and with what that we wash.
Anti-bacterial soap is no better at killing germs than regular soap and water. In this article on the FDA (US Food and Drug Administration) website it explains it… https://www.fda.gov/consumers/consumer-updates/antibacterial-soap-you-can-skip-it-use-plain-soap-and-water
If you don’t want to read the whole article, the last line says it all…
“Wash your hands with plain soap and water. That’s still one of the most important steps you can take to avoid getting sick and to prevent spreading germs.”
Now since I brought up antibacterial soap, you need to know that it is different from “hand sanitizer”.
Sanitizers have also been studied and researchers say washing your hands with soap and water is also more effective than hand sanitizers in fighting the flu. The difference with hand sanitizers is that while soap and water is better, hand sanitizers can be useful when you don’t have a sink with soap and water handy like in a classroom, the airport/on a plane, in the car etc. Just make sure the sanitizer is at least 60% alcohol.
**side note… hand sanitizers are great for moms of soccer goalkeepers (and any sport goalkeepers!) because when you get in the car after a game… those goalie hands coming out of those dirty sweaty gloves are the smelliest and probably germiest things ever! You will want to keep a bottle of that in their gear bag! …(you’re welcome!)
Even when you take a bath or shower, unless you just finished playing with your slip’n’slide in the backyard into the mud puddle it created or rubbed up against some really sweaty or sneezy people in the subway… you can take a good rinse and actually wash your sweaty “nooks and crannies” and leave some of your natural oils on the rest of your skin.
If you want to read a little article about why you should NOT shower too often… read this…
The other side of the story, when we talk about protecting ourselves and our bodies from viruses is… IF YOU OR YOUR KID ARE COUGHING OR SNEEZING… STAY HOME!
As a mom of 6 I can’t tell you how many times I kept my kids home even if they felt “fine” but if they were snotty or sneezy or coughing… I wasn’t about to spread that to the whole class!!! And let me tell you… that was NOT always fun. BUT it was necessary. So, if you are a parent… SHOW SOME RESPECT to the other parents and kids… and if you are NOT a parent, at least respect your fellow human. You will greatly impact your health and the health of others just by being respectful. Stay home or at the very least if you must go out… use your “sick etiquette”. Cough into your sleeve and keep your hands away from your face. Do not shake hands with anyone, you can decline politely. They will appreciate it for sure… because if you try to shake my hand when you are sick, no matter how much I love you…you can be sure you will get yelled at by this mamma!
So, at dinner tonight, why don’t you have a little conversation about Soap! Bring up all these things
New or New-ish parents give babies a bath…1-2x per week as needed… otherwise a little “sponge-bath” is sufficient.
Big kids and adults… every other day or two …but you don’t need to soap up more than 2x per week Except for your sweaty parts! Those you want to soap up more often! If you feel the need to “get wet” daily… just rinse! You will still feel good!
BUT…AS FOR YOUR HANDS – and any part of you that comes in contact with other people in public places during cold and flu season (sneezy-cough-y people) –wash them often… with soap and water… for a good minute… and you will lessen your chances for Corona virus, other influenza strains and a bunch of other common colds.