Donya Currie is the editor of The Free Lance-Star's Healthy Life section and Healthy Life Virginia newsletter.

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Germ-blocking mitts?

Everyone wants to stay well, so it’s hard to knock anything intended to keep us germ-free. And yet, I can’t resist poking fun at a product pitched to me earlier today — Gotta Go Mitts.

Gotta Go Mitts are little plastic mitts small children are supposed to stick over their hands when they use public restrooms. Kids, parents know, often do gross things in bathrooms. They lift the seat, touch the trash can, pick up things off the floor — it’s cringe-worthy. The idea behind these mitts is that they can maximize children’s safety while minimizing parents’ worry.

But I wonder: After kids leave the stall, do they take the mitts off and wash their hands? Because if they do, then why bother with the mitts? And if they don’t, then aren’t the mitts getting in the way of forming a hand-washing habit? And really: Will kids too impulsive to resist touching a dirty floor actually wear a mitt?

Common sense tells me a good hand-washing after a trip to the restroom is effective enough. Of course, small kids can’t always reach the faucet, and lifting a squirmy child over a wet sink can be tough. (That’s partly why I carry hand sanitizer.) But mitts? Check out the Web site if you’re curious — There are some glowing testimonials. Looking at the site made me wonder if we’re becoming a nation of germaphobes, but I’d be curious to hear what you think.