Coronavirus, hand washing and (not) panic buying

So, in a bid to combat coronavirus, we’ve all been learning to wash our hands properly. There are plenty of videos online and we all now know that you need to sing ‘happy birthday’ through twice to reach the magical 20 seconds.

Why didn’t we know this before?!

To be honest, I’m feeling pretty smug right now, because I’ve always been a good hand washer. I wash my hands at all the usual times – after going to the toilet, before and after food preparation, before eating, after cleaning or handling the guinea pigs, plus less obvious times, like after touching door handles, cash machines and banisters outside of my own house. I wash my hands umpteen times a day. My family accuse me of being a germaphobe, but I’m OK with that. Because I don’t get ill.

Having watched the videos, it appears I was a strong eight out of 10 on my hand washing technique. There was just a little bit of the back of my left hand that I was missing. And if you’re going to miss anything, the back of your left hand (for a right handed person) is probably a pretty good bit to miss. I’m not eating with the back of my left hand.

But if the shops are anything to go by, it would appear that the rest of the world were pretty ignorant about washing their hands. Because clearly they had NO SOAP AT ALL at home. They weren’t just all being greedy and selfish and buying eight bottles for themselves, were they? (And don’t even get me started on the toilet rolls… )

I buy soap refill packs every few weeks when I need them. I was close to needing one just at the point when the world went mad. No refill packs for me. Nor any form of soap whatsoever. Luckily the bathroom soap in our house hadn’t been hit as hard as the kitchen soap, so we could squeeze a few more days out of it before I picked up two bottles in Sainsbury’s (not refills, but we have to let some of our principles slide when there’s a global health emergency). And, no I didn’t buy eight bottles, I just bought the two.

Soap, Hand washing, Coronavirus

If you can’t combat coronavirus by washing your hands with soap and water, of course you should use hand sanitiser. IF YOU CAN FIND ANY ANYWHERE. The last known sighting of hand sanitiser in the shops was towards the end of February.

Luckily, as a germophobe, I’ve been buying hand sanitiser for many years. I have a tendency to buy more before I’ve finished the previous one. A quick search of my bag revealed six half finished bottles. There were a further two half finished bottles in my bedside drawer. Which was a flipping good job, seeing as my son was going on an aeroplane to Singapore. We managed to combine them to make up two full bottles for him. And I still have nearly a whole bottle in my bag. Result!

Coronavirus is clearly a big risk for the elderly and people with underlying health conditions. It won’t be a problem for me or my kids. But we all need to do our bit to protect those who are more vulnerable to it – not to mention the health service and the economy, which are going to be put under such huge pressure.

So if washing hands is what it takes, let’s all keep doing it. But if your soap supplies fall below 10 bottles, perhaps spare a thought for those less able (and less greedy) and don’t go and raid the shops again. We’re all in this together. We are washing our hands to protect our own families, but also to protect society as a whole.

And when coronavirus has finally passed us by, here’s a radical idea. KEEP WASHING YOUR HANDS. Because it can stop you getting colds, flu and stomach bugs too.

Don’t believe me? I’ve been a big hand washer all my life and, with the exception of a few colds, which don’t stop me doing anything, I have genuinely not been ill since 2009, when I had a fairly minor virus which laid me low for a couple of days.

It’s got to be worth a try, right?

Soap, Hand washing, Coronavirus


Author: Sarah Mummy

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  1. Sarah,

    As a geriatric, I suppose I may be at greater-than-average risk of contracting the virus, even though I don’t have any relevant underlying health conditions. I’m taking reasonable precautions, and I am not going to panic.
    I’ve checked whether I have adequate stocks of soap (liquid and bar) and toilet rolls, and I do, so I have no plans to buy any more at the moment. On my two most recent trips to a supermarket, there was plenty of stock of what I wanted to buy — mainly perishable food.
    A tweet I read yesterday, from a person I don’t know, recommended panic-buying a particular something which for obvious reasons I’m not going to name. How very irresponsible!

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    • This sounds very sensible! There should be more people around like you. Strangely I haven’t found anyone who has admitted to panic buying, but a lot of people certainly are, because the shelves are completely clear of soap, hand sanitiser and toilet roll.

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  2. I find it really bad that up until a few weeks ago people weren’t that bothered about washing their hands now it’s all anyone can talk about. I’m a hand washer too and I’ve not been in for about 10 years apart from the normal colds.
    I think it’s madness how people are stockpiling. x

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    • It’s nice to know there are other hand washers out there! Think of all the illnesses people could have avoided if they’d just washed their hands better all along. I don’t know what’s wrong with people with their stockpiling! x

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  3. Yes, the fact that people are SUDDENLY washing their hands is the thing that worries me the most in all of this, what on earth were they doing before?? The panic buying has annoyed me as well because as someone eloquently pointed out on twitter, in order to avoid getting it, we need other people to wash their hands as well, which they can’t do if a few idiots have bought all the soap!

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    • It is amazing that people weren’t washing their hands before. My husband said the bin in the men’s toilets at work is suddenly full of paper towels – he’d always assumed people used the hand drier, but it appears they weren’t actually washing their hands at all! People are so selfish with their panic buying. x

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  4. See I am not convinced that people are panic buying I do think they weren’t washing their hands before. How many times have you seen ADULTS leaving public toilets without washing their hands. And the fact that it is government advice!

    Unfortunately for us we had made sure we ran everything down including solid bars of soap just before this happened. The only hand soap we could get is sherbet lemon – so our sensory seeker is using it lots and I fear it wont last long.

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    • I just can’t believe that people weren’t washing their hands before, although I know most people won’t have been washing them as well or as often as me! I never see people not washing their hands in public toilets, although some people do a very quick swish!
      Fingers crossed you can find some more soap before your boy uses it all up!

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