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Kids and Allergies: Not so fast on tossing the baby wipes

Submitted by on Wednesday, 22 October 2008 No Comment

I’m near the end of five years of diapers — Little Guy’s still on precautionary Pull-Ups at night but he won’t be for much longer — and thought that would mean I could wipe wipes off my shopping list, too.

Uh, not so fast, I found out the other night during my freak-out about Big Guy’s first field trip. Looks like I’ll still be stocking wipes, but there’s no need to buy hand sanitizer.

Turns out that research at Johns Hopkins University shows hand sanitizer doesn’t do as good a job as water alone in removing traces of peanut allergens from hands — and that’s important for kids such as Big Guy, who can get sick from even the tiniest amount.

I don’t know why that surprises me. Our pediatrician’s derided hand sanitizer for years as something that merely rearranges germs. Why should allergens be any different?

In the Johns Hopkins study, researchers peanut buttered the hands of adults and then asked them to wash up.

The results: Hand wipes, liquid soap and bar soap removed all residue. Plain water left residue on three of twelve hands. Sanitizer left remains on half the hands in question.

The researchers also looked at how well household cleaners did at removing a teaspoon of peanut butter from a clean table: plain water, dishwashing liquid, Formula 409 cleaner, Lysol sanitizing wipes and Target brand cleaner with bleach. Everything worked but dishwashing liquid. Looks like I’m stocking up on Lysol wipes, too.

Oh, and another reason to stick with hand wipes: There have been confirmed cases of kids getting drunk on hand sanitizer. I’d hate to be responsible for pushing a gateway drug on my kids.

Copyright 2008 Debra Legg.

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