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How clean are your child’s thumbs?

I was watching Operation Ouch (as you do!) with the lovely twins Dr Chris and Dr Xand when they were discussing the importance of hand washing.

They explained that most people don’t wash their hands properly and that when they do they neglect their thumbs. This means that the thumb carriers lots of bacteria. Which made me worry even more about children sucking their thumbs.

A delicious mud pie, the longest ever daisy chain, a slippery worm — just some of the types of goodies kids love to bring home. But these “adorable” presents can also bring with them millions of germs. Just think about the germs that your child is putting in their mouth every time they suck their thumb.

Did you know that to wash your hands thoroughly, you’ll need to take around 30 seconds to a minute, or roughly the time it takes to sing “Happy Birthday” twice, to get them properly clean?  You may not want to sing it out loud, unless its your birthday, but it’s a handy reminder for you to take the time you need to wash your hands!

Keeping hands clean and washing them regularly can significantly reduce the spread of harmful bacteria that can lead to vomiting, diarrhea, and other infections. Follow these 8 steps to perfect your hand washing technique.

Good hand washing technique

  • Wet hands with clean warm running water
  • Apply a small amount of soap or anti bacterial wash
  • Rub your palms together (away from the water) with the soap
  • Rub your fingers and thumbs and bits in between
  • Rub your nails on your palms
  • Rub the back of each hand with your palms
  • Rinse with clean running water
  • Dry with a clean towel or paper towel

When should you wash your hands?

  • Before, during, and after preparing food
  • Before eating food, even if you are using a knife and fork
  • After going the toilet
  • Before and after treating a cut or wound
  • After blowing your nose, sneezing or coughing
  • After stroking or touching an animal, animal feed, or animal poo
  • After handling pet food or pet treats
  • After touching rubbish

I was amazed at how dirty Isabel’s Thumbsie® fabric thumb guards got when she was wearing them. That’s why I now recommend three for each thumb they suck so that you always have a clean to pop on.

There are a few website that might interest you for further reading such as Centres for disease control and prevention and Kids Health.


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