The Hygiene Conundrum
Scientific India|July - August 2020
The Hygiene Conundrum
Blind folded race to ensure the highest standards of hygiene may not be something without any flip sides. Do we actually need these levels of hygiene? Where lies the fine line?
Ankur Srivastava

The world is in a chaos that none of us had even imagined. The list of unprecedented events is getting longer with every passing day. Countrywide lockdowns, tearful eyes of national leaders, crashing markets, workers trudging hundreds of kilometres in search of safety are just a few instances from that list that can give shivers to anyone. The danger posed by Covid-19 is real and so is the fear caused by it. In such desperate times, social distancing and hygiene are the new mantras of life. The entire mankind seems to be revolving around them. The resulting paranoia of this pandemic has caused us to chase ultimate standards of cleanliness in every possible way.

Scrutiny before Buying

Once this tide of Covid-19 recedes, life will be very different from what we knew it to be and what we have lived. Some new habits developed during this crisis will stay forever and some which we had until today will fade. Forget the warm hugs with our near and dear ones, even formal gesture of shaking hands too may vanish from our daily lives. Masks, gloves, and sanitizers, which we used only occasionally may stay in our daily lives permanently. Evenings, planned to be lived with friends devouring every single roadside delicacy are already getting spent in browsing for floor cleaners and sanitizers on mobile apps. The industry has also seen it as a golden opportunity and entire supply chain,from TV commercials to the neighbourhood grocery stores, all are teeming with a plethora of cleaning solutions. In this hunt for perfect hygiene to protect our families from the Pandemic, informed by TV ads, WhatsApp forwards, and our own conscience, we are doing whatever we can. Subscribing to an entire gamut of novel sanitary products is one such endeavour. Most of such products stand by the tall claims that they make and help in keeping ourselves safe from harmful microbes. But these novel products have one more dimension that needs to be analysed carefully before giving them space in our lives.

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July - August 2020