The first lesson on first day of school: Using hand sanitizer

Children must be taught the importance of using hand sanitizer whenever they are sick, or when there is no access to soap and water. This habit will keep them safe from infectious diseases.

Your child is the apple of your eye. One smile from them lights up your day! As they grow up, you feel a bittersweet twinge knowing that soon your child will be old enough for playschool and then nursery classes. You want the world for them, but you want them to grow up healthy and strong to be able to enjoy their lives to the fullest.

For your child to grow up fit and strong, it is important that they develop their body with play and adequate nutrition. But even more important, especially at this young stage in life, is personal hygiene. Lessons in personal hygiene imbibed at a tender age stay with a person for life. As your child gears up for playschool, teach them the first lesson in personal hygiene: washing their hands using a sanitizer or soap and water.

Why using plain water alone does not help

The first thing most of us do when we get our hands dirty, is to rinse them under clean water. This gets the dirt or dust out – but what about lurking germs? No amount of water can rid the skin of the microscopic germs lurking on the surface.

Also, every time you rinse your hands to clean them without using soap, your child is watching and imbibing the (wrong) lesson that simply washing with water is enough. In fact, you should teach your child that nothing but a through scrub with water and a good antibacterial soap will do when it comes to washing the hands clean. Encourage them to use a good liquid handwashing soap every time they wash their hands, and tell them to wash their hands as often as they can remember to do so. Over time, they will get used to washing their hands frequently and will not need to be reminded to do so.

The habit of washing their hands with water and soap will help keep their hands free of infectious germs – and they will fall sick less often as well.

But what happens when there’s no water or soap nearby?

But there may be times when your child is away from water and soap. They may be out playing with friends, or inside the classroom, or out and about shopping with you. At such times, they can wash their hands using a hand sanitizer.

A hand sanitizer is a skin cleaning liquid that contains trace amounts of alcohol and other germ-killing agents to immediately eliminate germs present on the skin. Add a bottle of hand sanitizer to your child’s school bag and teach them how to use it. They can take a drop of the sanitizer on the palm of their hands, and simply rub both hands together. The liquid spreads rapidly on rubbing the hands, and it soon kills all lurking germs.

A good hand sanitizer like Dettol does not leave a sticky residue on the skin and provides immediate germicidal action. Teach your child not to rinse their hands with water after using the sanitizer. Also, washing the hands with it provides faster germ removal than washing with water and soap.

It is important to use the product before and after eating using the hands, or after playing outdoors, or even when your child has a cold or cough. Impress upon your child the need to use sanitizer if they inadvertently touch another child’s used tissue or kerchief. Also impress upon them the habit of use their own tissues to wipe their nose and face, and to throw them away in the trash can instead of leaving them lying around.

Dettol hand sanitizer has a fast-acting formulation that is mild on the skin but tough on germs. It kills up to 99.9% germs on the skin, and it is a handy replacement for soap and water when you are out of doors. It cuts through grime and dust really quickly and eliminates all lurking germs at once.