Antibacterial – Friend or foe

Recently, we have been seeing many reports on the news about the effects of using antibacterial soaps and hand cleaners.  they are very handy I must say.  Could they be giving us a false sense of safety and health?  In my previous post I talked about the extremes of anti-hygiene that were experienced in the middle ages.  Have we gone to the other extreme?  Is there such a thing as being too clean?  Although my skin crawls to say this, but, yes, I think there is a such thing as being too clean. 

Much like the natural intestinal flora that we carry in our bowels there must be such a thing as “good” or beneficial bacteria in our environments as well.  There has been a surge of  cases of asthma and allergies among young people in recent years.  Scientists and doctors have attributed that to not enough “dirt time”; no playing outside, using antibacterial everything and being trapped indoors 90% of our days.  They believe that by playing outdoors may help children build an immunity and resistance to common bacteria and maybe even callous their systems to common allergens. 

I noticed when I was about 25 that I started experiencing seasonal allergies.  Though they were mild, they were still annoying.   Finally, I narrowed it down to the fact that I didn’t go outside as much anymore.  The previous 7 years had either been spent in a classroom, in and office or in the house – using antibacterial solutions to clean and dissinfect my surroundings.  Whenever the weather is nice I try to go outside as much as possible.  Now with a little girl at my side I want her to enjoy the outdoors.  I grew up with a city girl for a mom so I really never appreciated our country home until I was in my late teens.

Antibacterial is handy, but there is nothing like some regular soap, hot water and a good long scrub to get the majority of yucky bacteria and smells off our hands. 

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