‘Since Covid-19 my son is obsessed with washing his hands’

Ask the Expert: ‘I am particularly worried about his reluctance to go out’

‘He got up in the middle of the night to rewash his hands because he was worried that he had not cleaned them well enough before he went to bed.’  Photograph: iStock

‘He got up in the middle of the night to rewash his hands because he was worried that he had not cleaned them well enough before he went to bed.’ Photograph: iStock

Question: Even before Covid-19, my nine year old was always a bit obsessed about cleaning and worried about catching colds, etc. Now in the height of Covid, this anxiety has sky rocketed. He obsessively washes his hands many times a day and is reluctant to go out even in the garden.

Yesterday, he got up in the middle of the night to rewash his hands because he was worried that he had not cleaned them well enough before he went to bed. His hands are becoming chapped from all of the washing, though he will rub in moisturiser afterwards which is helping. I am not sure how to help him, because if I challenge him about the washing, or tell him he has done enough, he gets upset and goes on about how he is going to get Covid, etc.

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