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.