Why wouldn't you wash your hands? - Mothering Forums
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Women's Health > Why wouldn't you wash your hands?
Dabble's Avatar Dabble 01:06 AM 01-12-2009
So we were at the dentist last week and I was sitting in the waiting room with another mother and her boy of about six years of age.

The boy said he had to go potty and the mother took him out of the lobby and returned, no joke, about 20 seconds later. The office is under construction so I assumed that their brief absence meant that the bathroom wasn't working, so I asked her "Oh, is the bathroom out of order?"

She said "No, he used the bathroom."

I said, "He was able to go potty and wash his hands that quick?!?" with genuine amazement.

She replied "We don't believe in frequent handwashing."

I was dumbfounded and said nothing as I watched her boy go back to playing with all of the toys in the lobby.

Why would someone have such a philosophy? I wish I would have asked her.

kangaroomum25's Avatar kangaroomum25 01:15 AM 01-12-2009
It does dry out the natural protective oils on your hands

I allways wash after using public bathrooms, and then use a papertowel or something to open the door
nalo's Avatar nalo 01:40 AM 01-12-2009
Perhaps she has somehow gotten confused and thinks that washing hands with soap and water is equivalent to using antibacterial hand gel or something (which I do consider a bad thing, personally).
AquariusHome's Avatar AquariusHome 01:41 AM 01-12-2009
My 6 yr old will literally lift up the toilet seat with his foot and not touch anything with his hands in order to avoid having to wash his hands afterward. Of course I try to insist that he washes anyway, but my arguements are pretty weak when he hasn't touched anything (and he's a lawyer in training I'm afraid).

Maybe she's covering up her lack of success enforcing the handwashing???
alegna's Avatar alegna 02:03 AM 01-12-2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by LaurieG View Post
My 6 yr old will literally lift up the toilet seat with his foot and not touch anything with his hands in order to avoid having to wash his hands afterward. Of course I try to insist that he washes anyway, but my arguements are pretty weak when he hasn't touched anything (and he's a lawyer in training I'm afraid).

Maybe she's covering up her lack of success enforcing the handwashing???
dd went through that stage too....

-Angela
WuWei's Avatar WuWei 02:03 AM 01-12-2009
Have you heard of the "Hygiene Hypothesis"?
http://healthlink.mcw.edu/article/1031002421.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hygiene_hypothesis
http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/452170
http://foodallergies.about.com/b/200...do-with-it.htm
http://www.respiratoryreviews.com/ja...3_hygiene.html
http://www.sciencenews.org/pages/sn_...14_99/bob2.htm


Increased hygiene and a lack of exposure to various microorganisms may be affecting the immune systems of many populations - particularly in highly developed countries like the US - to the degree that individuals are losing their bodily ability to fight off certain diseases.

That's the essence of the "hygiene hypothesis," a fairly new school of thought that argues that rising incidence of asthma, inflammatory bowel disease, multiple sclerosis and perhaps several other diseases may be, at least in part, the result of lifestyle and environmental changes that have made us too "clean" for our own good.



Pat
Panserbjorne's Avatar Panserbjorne 02:34 AM 01-12-2009
How do you not love Pat? :

You are simply a veritable font of knowledge.
Jojo F.'s Avatar Jojo F. 02:54 AM 01-12-2009
I agree with the "Hygiene Hypothesis" BUT, I would certainly wash my hands after using the restroom, that's just kind of disgusting (to put it nicely).

Of course I am being a little extra cautious right now since I'm still pregnant but, usually I'm not a germaphobe, we don't wash our hands constatnly & never ever use the antibacterial stuff.
AFWife's Avatar AFWife 02:55 AM 01-12-2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by kangaroomum25 View Post
It does dry out the natural protective oils on your hands

I allways wash after using public bathrooms, and then use a papertowel or something to open the door
Not going to lie. If there's an air dryer instead of paper towels I probably will just do a quick rinse...I'm going to touch the door anyway.

Quote:
Originally Posted by WuWei View Post


Increased hygiene and a lack of exposure to various microorganisms may be affecting the immune systems of many populations - particularly in highly developed countries like the US - to the degree that individuals are losing their bodily ability to fight off certain diseases.

That's the essence of the "hygiene hypothesis," a fairly new school of thought that argues that rising incidence of asthma, inflammatory bowel disease, multiple sclerosis and perhaps several other diseases may be, at least in part, the result of lifestyle and environmental changes that have made us too "clean" for our own good.



Pat
Awesome info
Dabble's Avatar Dabble 03:00 AM 01-12-2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by WuWei View Post
Have you heard of the [B]"Hygiene Hypothesis"
That's interesting, I guess I've heard of people who think that there is detriment in too frequent handwashing, but I've never heard of anyone who applied that idea after using a public restroom.

I'm in MN and we are deep into cold and flu season on top of a nasty Norovirus bug that has been rampaging its way through our town. That's all I could think of as I watched the boy touching EVERYTHING in the lobby with his unwashed hands. I could hardly wait to get my DS home and wash his hands before he rubbed his eyes or put a finger in his mouth.

IMO, it seems more than a bit disrespectful of others to refuse to wash your hands.
nichole's Avatar nichole 02:55 PM 01-12-2009
Maybe they have really dry skin?
StephandOwen's Avatar StephandOwen 03:15 PM 01-12-2009
Maybe she just does a squirt of hand sanitizer? I know a lot of people here don't agree with it's use but.... it's better than nothing sometimes.

And imagine this... you take your son, who has autism and sensory issues, out to the dentist (which is already hard enough on your son and you risk a huge meltdown over any little thing). You have him pee before you leave home, but, alas- he has to pee again when you get there. So you take him to go pee. This could play out one of 2 ways.....

A) let ds pee and do everything you can to keep him from touching anything and not enforce the "wash hands" rule. After peeing, ds continues on his way.

Or

B) let ds pee and then enforce hand washing. DS freaks out, screaming and crying. You struggle to get his hands in the water only to splash a tiny drop on his shirt. Now all hell breaks loose because, as we all know, a drop of water on his shirt is the equivalent to acid burning through your skin. You now have to carry a kicking and screaming child out of the bathroom. Child then proceeds to try and take off shirt and cannot be consoled for anything. If you're lucky, you have a spare shirt in the car that he will approve of (because the list of approved clothing change from day to day). If you're not lucky you just call it quits and reschedule the appointment because there's no way the child is going to willingly let anybody anywhere near him so it's pointless to even try.

Yes, I often just let ds use hand sanitizer. On rare occasions I've even let him go back to playing without any sanitizer or hand washing. I'm not proud of it, but the small chance of him catching some horrible disease was not as big as the chance of a huge meltdown from hell happening.

Be careful when you judge. You don't always know the full picture.
LionessMom's Avatar LionessMom 03:25 PM 01-12-2009
i would have to say that my family hardly washes their hands. the only time i enforce it is after they have a BM or after i change a BM dipe or I touched the dog (i am allergic) or they got food all over. otherwise i guess we dont.

we havent been sick in months.

i do think that the kid (if possible for that kid) should have washed his hands before playing with the communal toys (esp when so much is going around)
lily7's Avatar lily7 04:09 PM 01-12-2009
Parasites are the other reason why you really should wash your hands after using restrooms.
claddaghmom's Avatar claddaghmom 04:21 PM 01-12-2009
nak

hm i woudve thought it was more common to assist kids? I mean, up until 7/8yo I always assisted my sibings in public bathrooms. I'd help them balance so they didnt have to touch the bar, etc. Then around 7/8 they learned how to do it aone aka not touch a thing. I think its way more sanitary to use your shoe for the doors and touch nothin than to wash your hands in a public sink. unless everythings automatic.

and ya i dont touch/dont wash. learned that trick taking a bus trip across america lol. You get saavy real quick. It leads to funny looks.
sbgrace's Avatar sbgrace 04:27 PM 01-12-2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chimpmandee View Post
That's interesting, I guess I've heard of people who think that there is detriment in too frequent handwashing, but I've never heard of anyone who applied that idea after using a public restroom.

This. If a person knew what types of things lurk in public restrooms (thinking c. diff and parasites) I can't imagine why they would not make that an exception to avoiding too much washing.

That said...we can easily pee in public restrooms without my boys touching a thing if I am with them. I suspect that's what happened there. Then when we do wash we're actually touching more than if we didn't. We still wash because generally I figure we've picked up junk elsewhere by that time anyway and I don't want a cold or stomach bug either but....the washing exposes us to more of the bathroom junkies than peeing did.
OakBerry's Avatar OakBerry 06:39 PM 01-12-2009
That's pretty gross.
I can see not wanting to be too germophobic, but hands should be washed after using public bathrooms.

And even if you didn't touch anything in the bathroom, most likely you've touched your privates to wipe right?
CarrieMF's Avatar CarrieMF 07:02 PM 01-12-2009
Quote:
And even if you didn't touch anything in the bathroom, most likely you've touched your privates to wipe right?
How many boys wipe after using a urinal? I know zero. Yes they've touched themselves but unless they're unskilled at using a urinal they're not touching their urine(which for most people is sterile).

At a dentist this wouldn't bother me(unless it was the dentist,lol), presuming the bathroom is used by dental clients & is not a general bathroom. In a store/mall it would.
Liquesce's Avatar Liquesce 07:07 PM 01-12-2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by LaurieG View Post
My 6 yr old will literally lift up the toilet seat with his foot and not touch anything with his hands in order to avoid having to wash his hands afterward. Of course I try to insist that he washes anyway, but my arguements are pretty weak when he hasn't touched anything (and he's a lawyer in training I'm afraid).
Ahh, but that is when you then insist they wash their shoes ...
~PurityLake~'s Avatar ~PurityLake~ 07:14 PM 01-12-2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chimpmandee View Post
I'm in MN and we are deep into cold and flu season on top of a nasty Norovirus bug that has been rampaging its way through our town. That's all I could think of as I watched the boy touching EVERYTHING in the lobby with his unwashed hands. I could hardly wait to get my DS home and wash his hands before he rubbed his eyes or put a finger in his mouth.
If the boy didn't have the cold, flu or Norovirus prior to peeing, why would he suddenly need to wash his hands after peeing in order for your son to not get infected with the cold, flu or Norovirus?
~PurityLake~'s Avatar ~PurityLake~ 07:17 PM 01-12-2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by StephandOwen View Post
Or

B) let child pee and then enforce hand washing. Child freaks out, screaming and crying. You struggle to get their hands in the water only to splash a tiny drop on their shirt. Now all hell breaks loose because, as we all know, a drop of water on their shirt is the equivalent to acid burning through your skin. You now have to carry a kicking and screaming child out of the bathroom. Child then proceeds to try and take off shirt and cannot be consoled for anything. If you're lucky, you have a spare shirt in the car that they will approve of (because the list of approved clothing change from day to day). If you're not lucky you just call it quits and reschedule the appointment because there's no way the child is going to willingly let anybody anywhere near them so it's pointless to even try.
That sounds a lot like how my older daughter reacts to water and clothing and everything else she's so dang particular about.
_betsy_'s Avatar _betsy_ 07:24 PM 01-12-2009
With my horribly dry skin, if the only soap available is anribacterial, i'm not using it unless there's something really gross on my hands (like raw chicken. Or one of my kids' bodily fluids (Hey! That's the first time I said "my kids!" LOL! DD2 is 9 days old!)).
Llyra's Avatar Llyra 09:01 PM 01-12-2009
I am on the fence about washing in public bathrooms. I would think that the door handle on the way out is only going to make my hands dirty again, right? And I would imagine those sinks and soap dispensers aren't all that clean, so if I have to touch the faucet to turn it off, what's the point in washing?

And I don't know about you, but I don't actually touch my genitals or my own excrement when I use the toilet-- a big handful of TP keeps my hands well away from poop, and a healthy person's pee is sterile, anyway.
nichole's Avatar nichole 12:42 AM 01-13-2009
If there are no paper towels, I use my shirt sleeve to open the door! I'm paranoid.

I have really dry skin and a dh who is allergic to most lotions. But when I'm at a public restroom I HAVE to wash my hands. I'm most concerned with touching anything in the bathroom that someone touched that has the rotovirus or some other nasty stuff. I'm tired of my kids bringing home viruses! Even if they do not use the bathroom if they even touch the wall, they win a trip to the sink to wash your hands.

It is frustrating to watch someone use the bathroom then not wash their hands. Then they go touch the door handle and a bunch of stuff in the restaurant. Gross Maybe I have OCD. I'm tired of cleaning vomit. It has gotten a lot better though so maybe hand washing has paid off.
Dabble's Avatar Dabble 01:24 AM 01-13-2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by StephandOwen View Post
Be careful when you judge. You don't always know the full picture.
I appreciate this reminder and admit that I do not know their reasons. I had other reasons to not be fond of this family (including the boy almost dropping a stool on my sleeping infant's head and the mother not saying a peep) so I may be judging them unfairly. I really wish I would have asked but I was genuinely dumbfounded.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CarrieMF View Post
At a dentist this wouldn't bother me(unless it was the dentist,lol), presuming the bathroom is used by dental clients & is not a general bathroom. In a store/mall it would.
Why? Because dental clients are cleaner than mall shoppers? I agree that the bathroom would likely be less-used, but that doesn't mean someone wasn't just in there with diarrhea on their hands.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ~Purity‚ô•Lake~ View Post
If the boy didn't have the cold, flu or Norovirus prior to peeing, why would he suddenly need to wash his hands after peeing in order for your son to not get infected with the cold, flu or Norovirus?
I generally think of public bathroom surfaces as unclean. The boy was in the restroom and touched his penis, then flushed the toilet/urinal with his hand and returned to play with communal toys in the waiting room without washing his hands. That's gross. He's spreading whatever his hand picked up from other bathroom users, which may have included a previous user with cold/flu/norovirus. Or maybe he did have one of those illnesses himself and because of his lack of handwashing is spreading them unnecessarily.

I take each bathroom trip as an opportunity to get another handwashing into the day - clean off all of the yuck I have picked up along the way on all the surfaces I touch.

I also don't think there is much weight to be put into the whole idea of "We don't wash our hands, and we're hardly ever sick." Well, we wash ours a lot and we're hardly ever sick either. DH is a teacher and I do part-time daycare, so we are put through the gamut of germ exposure on a daily basis.
2xy's Avatar 2xy 01:38 AM 01-13-2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chimpmandee View Post
He's spreading whatever his hand picked up from other bathroom users, which may have included a previous user with cold/flu/norovirus. Or maybe he did have one of those illnesses himself and because of his lack of handwashing is spreading them unnecessarily.
I'm a big handwasher, but it's mostly out of habit rather than anything else. I'm fully aware that, most of the time, I'm just washing because I've been conditioned to....or because my hands smell funny. Like, after I scoop food into the cat's bowl. I don't like my hands retaining odors.

Anyway.....

If this child was infected with some virus, he'd be spreading it around whether he'd used the restroom or not. And at a dentist's office, you'd be just as likely (if not moreso) to pick up a virus from the doorknob at the entrance, a magazine in the waiting room, or using the receptionist's pen to write a check.
KK'sMommy's Avatar KK'sMommy 01:42 AM 01-13-2009
Was she possibly being sarcastic? Like, he threw a fit, so she just gave up? Either way, it is disgusting.
34me's Avatar 34me 01:48 AM 01-13-2009
I don't want to start an argument or anything but an interesting tid bit from my son's science project last year: 5 out of 5 public toilets/restrooms in a college town grew less bacteria than his older brother's sports equipment.

And yes, dh is a microbiologist at a food plant. We always wash hands after the restroom but might not any other time of the day. And we are hardly ever sick. Maybe once a year each.
Arwyn's Avatar Arwyn 01:57 AM 01-13-2009
I've been known to take my toddler to pee and not washed... he sits on the toilet, we don't wipe, I touch nothing really on the way in or out, I either kick doors open or use my shirt, or just don't sweat it.

And if the bathroom is really stinky and I need to get out quick, I won't wash my hands after peeing unless I didn't have the cleanest wipe -- and if I do, I only use water, because ALL public restroom soap has stinky nasty crap that stays on my hands all day and gives me a major migraine.

I can understand the ick factor, and there are lots of cases where it might really have been disgusting, but for a quick pee? Meh.
Dabble's Avatar Dabble 02:39 AM 01-13-2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by 2xy View Post
If this child was infected with some virus, he'd be spreading it around whether he'd used the restroom or not.
And if he had taken the time to wash his hands, he'd be that much less likely to be spreading things around. Like I said, every bathroom trip is an opportunity to get another handwashing in and slow the spread of germs.

I don't feel like I'm over the top with germ phobia or handwashing mania, but I am really shocked at how many people have admitted to not washing hands after using a public restroom.

YUCK!!!

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