Hi Readers: Time to quit pickling our kids in Purell. That’s not just MY conclusion, or even just the conclusion of Slate writer Darshak Sanghavi in this TERRIFIC piece, “How To Sell Germ Warfare.” No, it’s the conclusion of scientists who were surprised that giving free hand sanitizers (and, in one case, even Clorox Wipes) to families and schools failed to cut down on respiratory infections.
That’s because the flu, for one, spreads mostly via tiny droplets in the air. (ACHOO!!!) So touching things is only one way to catch it. Breathing — that gosh darn thing we keep doing — is the other. Moreover, the article notes, kids touch their mouth or nose on average once every three minutes. So unless we Purell ’em 20 times an hour (which I’m sure some folks are considering), all bets are off. But not all germs.
This is not to say phooey (or achoo-ey) on basic hygiene. But phooey on obsessive hygiene, especially when it seems so profit-driven. — Lenore