Grab it Wipe it Squirt it Rub it. It is the hand sanitizer boogie. OK, so perhaps I won’t attempt to turn this to another Gangnam Style dance craze. Despite the fact that, I think it is. Hand sanitizing is a favorite practice and available at grocery cart channels, banks, schools and other public areas where your hand could potentially touch where somebody else’s hand – or hands – has already been. And you don’t have any idea where those hands have been earlier. Just the idea makes you catch the closest available hand sanitizer, which very well could be in your pocket, handbag or coat.
The use of hand sanitizers is a custom of preventing pathogens, virus germs and bugs from doing their sneezing, wheezing and, from time to time, nauseating strikes on we humans and our kids. Good or bad, we’re a germaphobic society. The awareness that germs cause sickness, disease and even death has been one of the very valuable discoveries in medicine. The question on the lips and minds of a few is – have we taken it too far?
However, I mostly say this since germaphobia might be unhealthy, both emotionally and physically, that has been proven by the creation of seriously deadly antibiotic resistant bacteria and the stress that some folks put themselves through over preventing germs – the continuous strain of disinfecting each inch of the surroundings. Awareness is great, paranoia into the degree of overdoing isn’t. In regard to hand sanitizers, there’s both the good and the bad.
Adaptive immunity is the role of the immune system which produces a defense against parasitic microorganisms that formerly have infected the body. To put it differently, it’s good your kids get sick.
Its debatable whether with a hand sanitizer has a powerful negative impact on adaptive immunity. Research does show that using hand sanitizers does cut down on sick days taken by school kids, but isn’t clear on if this cuts down on the amount of illness kids develop throughout childhood.
Triclosan. Bad. The evidence isn’t entirely in that triclosan is safe to be used by humans. According to the FDA’s site “several scientific studies have come out since the last time FDA reviewed this fixing which merit further review. However, data showing effects in animals do not always predict effects in humans. Other research in bacteria have increased the possibility that triclosan results in creating bacteria resistant to antibiotics.”
The fantastic thing is, triclosan is not even necessary in a hand sanitizer. The major ingredient in the very best hand sanitizers is alcohol. The content has to be at least 60% ethanol (alcohol) for the merchandise to be 99% effective.
There is apparently no resistance developed by germs to alcohol – hence there are no alcohol resistant bacteria because there are antibiotic resistant germs.
The impact on the microbiome that alcohol has on the skin isn’t definitive. The concern is very similar to antibiotics and their tumultuous effect on the intestinal flora of the gut. The jury remains out on this one.
Now, let us look at obsessive hand sanitizing. In 1 report there revealed no break from the lipid barrier with caregivers using an alcohol based sanitizer once the sanitizer also contained a moisturizer. Many sanitizers have aloe or glycerin that would count as moisturizers.
I’d raise caution with continuous use of alcohol sanitizers and highly recommend, if over sanitizing is called for, with a hand cream occasionally during the day which has similar lipids as those found in the skin’s barrier.
In conclusion I would need to say that you ought to avoid anything with triclosan in it. Wash your hands frequently – though this can lead to irritation to the skin greater than an alcohol sanitizer if the soaps are too harsh, which many are. If you have to use an ethanol based alcohol sanitizer do this only when necessary. Stop being paranoid and a germaphobe, it might cause unnecessary stress.
The best advice would be to support your immune system and your immunity to pathogens through a proper diet, supplements, sufficient sleep, de-stressing and a couple of daily drops of an essential oil such as MQV diluted in massage oil and rubbed across the chest, back of the knees and toes.
Read More in my next article I will offer some very powerful options to many hand sanitizers. Of course they’ll contain well known antibacterial essential oils.