Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Anti-bacterial products make me sick

Ben and I were away this weekend, which means we had TV. We don't have cable at our house, and aside from the news and Ben's games, our tv is never on. So when I do get to watch TV, the thing that sticks out to me the most is the adds.

I noticed a theme. Anti-bacterial products. From those Lysol wipes to a product that cleans the germs out of the s-curve in your toilet (so your waste doesn't get sick?) to a germ-killing pest control product (that's right! Those harmless (yet annoying) insects are carrying germs!!!!).

I have to say, these products make me a little nervous. Personally, I have no anti-bacterial products. Nope, not even a little bottle of hand sanitizer for the diaper bag.

When I need to wash, I use soap and water. If I'm being paranoid about potentially harmful things (like raw meat - eeeww!!!!) I use vinegar. If it's just general nastyness and not something that would make my family sick, I use dish soap (we trust it to get the icks off dishes (including raw meat) so why not other icks?)

The problem I have with all this anti-bacterial crazyness is that the bacteria we're trying to hard to kill has been around at least as long as we have. We've learned to co-exist. Sure, there are occasions where something gets out of hand, but for the most part so long as we're not being stupid (like eating raw chicken) they don't really pose a threat.

There is a need for exposure to germs - it gives the immune system a little kick and makes sure everything is working well, so that if we're exposed in large doses we're less likely to get sick. That's the basic premise behind vaccinations - a little exposure now to guard against a lot of exposure later.

Aside from that, there are good bacteria. There's also a craze right now for pro-biotics. They're in everything lately it seems. Thats because all these measures we're taking against getting sick end up killing the good bacteria that keep us from getting sick.

There really is no need to be so worried about germs. Aside from special circumstances (like hospitals) all this extra stuff can actually be harmful - and at the very least causes paranoia! Don't believe the marketing - there is no need for this stuff!

6 comments:

matthew said...

this sounds like a position i would take on this issue if i were to think about it more. of course, i'm not sure if that helps or hurts your argument :)

Kelly said...

I agree. The more we use anti-bacterial products, the more likely we are to create stronger and stronger germs, and weaker and weaker immue systems in ourselves and our children.

Mommy Rader said...

Yup, yup, yup!! Though I HAVE to confess...I wash my hands religiously with pretty much anything I can get my hands on =) I'm a germ-a-phobe.

Mommy of Three said...

I really only use anti-bacterial soap on my hands if I have been handling raw meat. And I will wipe down the counters with lysol wipes if any raw meat was dripped on them, or raw eggs...only because I have to be really careful about what kind of germs are in our house, because Jadon has a compromised immune system. But the truth really is, and studies have showed, that people who washed their hands with antibacterial soap actually ended up with MORE growth on a petri dish than those who used soap and water and good washing technique, because the antibacterial soap kills off the GOOD bacteria, too...

However, if anyone in your family gets stinky B.O. when they sweat, antibacterial body wash WILL eliminate that problem. The odor comes from people who have more bacteria than others, and when that bacteria combines with sweat, it gives off a rancid odor. (My hubby was the guinnea pig:) ) It works :)

echoeslikehorses said...

I agree completely! The marketing just takes advantage of people's fears and ignorance...

glo said...

*applouse* I get so sick of the world being so germaphobic. Reminds me of that one eposoide of Recess.