Did You Know Too Much Handwashing Can Backfire?


“The cleaner everyone is, the less stimulation their immune system gets. Their immune system tends to be incomplete.” – Nora Sarvetnick

So, you keep your hand hygiene in check? Great. You wash your hands using Dettol hand wash before eating food and after? Perfect. You wash your hands quite often? Well done. However, do you know how much hand washing is too much? This might sound alien to you, but trust us, excess of anything is bad – even when it comes to washing your hands. Scripps Research Immunology Professor Nora Sarvetnick is right – It is good to keep a strict eye on your hand hygiene but going overboard and being a complete germophobe can prove to be harmful to your health.

We are still stressing on the fact that washing hands using Dettol hand wash before and after eating and using the washroom is essential. However, excessive hand washing does more harm than good. Over sanitisation causes the body to lose its ability to build up resistance to bacteria and in return makes the immune system weak and prone to illnesses.


The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology published a study that states toddlers (under the age of one) exposed to common allergens like pet dander and common household bacteria are less likely to develop allergies, asthma and wheezing when compared to those who were kept in a safe and sterile environment.Many studies and scientists stress on the fact that constant hand washing eliminates the bacteria that helps build up the immune system. As a result, antibiotic-resistant bugs enter the body and make the person sick. Furthermore, over-washing can also make the hands dry, crack or bleed. Such situations allow the germs to enter the body, weaken the immune system and make it sick. However, applying a clinically proven moisturiser after every hand wash will keep dryness away.


What Is Adequate Hygiene?

Teaching your kids to wash hands before and after meals is a good thing but making them constantly wash their hands after every small task is overkill. Instead, teach them to wash hands when they have been around someone sick, after they have sneezed, used the bathroom and blown their nose. Following proper hand washing steps and using Dettol hand wash to steer away from germs after such encounters are more than enough. Ideal handwashing steps include:

  1. Wet your hands under lukewarm water
  2. Lather them with Dettol hand wash
  3. Rub under your nails, back of hands and between the fingers
  4. Scrub for minimum 30 seconds or sing the birthday song twice
  5. Rinse well with lukewarm water
  6. Air dry or use a clean tissue or towel to dry the hands
    Using a Dettol hand sanitizer is also a good practice when washing hands is not feasible. However, making it a constant habit is not advised. Use only when required.

Final Words!

One must follow the best practices for hand hygiene and gear the lifestyle in a direction that it helps in maintaining a strong immune system. From consuming nutritious foods to regular exercising, one must do it all. Furthermore, they must keep a check on their stress levels and aim at getting proper sleep. Living a healthy life will make your body fight well with the pathogens that come your way. Healthy living will lead to washing
hands only when required.

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