Hand-Washing: Lost Art Form?

To keep the body in good health is a duty… otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear.  ~Buddha

Well..it’s come to this has it?

Videos upon videos on how to wash our hands. Hundreds of daily reminders through, print, radio, television, YouTube, Google, and even SiriusXM. Don’t get me wrong. We, as a species, need constant reminders. Or least we seem to have evolved to rely on many external cues in order to care of ourselves. And of course, proper cleaning and sanitation of our phalanges during the COVID-19 epidemic is a must.

Perhaps this becomes part of a new norm of prudent behaviours we adopt post-pandemic?

Perhaps the lost art form of hand-washing returns?


Since the inundation of commercial hand sanitation products that includes baby wipes, hand wipes, and alcohol (and non-alcohol)-based gels and sprays over two decades ago, could it be that we have forgotten how to wash our hands? Have we collectively forgotten the importance of this basic health care habit?

The United States Center for Disease Control recommends hand-washing at least 3-4 times a day (not including before and after eating!). As a teacher, I attempt to wash my hands 4-5 times during a regular school day, and continually remind my students to do the same. Full disclosure: I am a self-anointed clean-freak and have no problem with this moniker since contracting viral pneumonia (twice!) in my late-20s and early-30s. Diligence and assiduity are the only realistic measures to reduce the likelihood of compromising my weakened immune system.

My greatest wish for humankind once the pandemic wanes seems decidedly simple, although Herculean in nature: We continue to collectively keep up the practice of regular and thorough hand-washing throughout our day. As parents and adults we continue to practice and model healthy personal hygiene. Other highly infectious contagions like influenza, the common cold, canker sores, West Nile, hand, foot and mouth, and Hepatitis A and B all originate from viruses that are as common (or more so) than the novel coronavirus (although health practitioners are warning us that this will become the new normal, too) and reduction of their spread can be reduced by…hand-washing.

[Please pass the soap.]



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