Antibacterial Soaps, The Flu and Super Bugs — Just Ol’ Fashioned Washing
“Antibacterial” – there is just something about the word that inspires a certain scientific clean.
So, it is flu season break out the antibacterial soaps, gels and lotions – Right?
First, a majority of illnesses are caused by viruses and antibacterial substances have no effect on viruses. The flu, for example, is caused by a virus or viruses; using an antibacterial soap or gel will do nothing about the spread of those viruses.
Using antibacterial soap is more about your brain than your skin. Using something labeled as “antibacterial” tells your brain that you are doing something to fight and to protect yourself.
What can you do that really does have an effect? Good old fashioned hand washing with regular soap. The lathering action of the soap combined with the scrubbing of your hands back and forth is what helps to lift bacteria and viruses off your body and allow water to wash them away.
How can you effectively wash your hands? Experts recommend:
Proper hand washing technique makes all the difference in the world when it comes to ridding your hands of germs. Follow this procedure:
- Wet your hands with running water.
- Apply soap and create an ample lather.
- Rub your hands thoroughly for a minimum of 20 seconds (about the time it takes to sing the Happy Birthday song twice).
- Dry well with an air dryer or clean, disposable towel. (Tip: If a towel is accessible, also use it to turn off the faucet.)
No water? Look for an alcohol based sanitizer with about 60% alcohol content. Now you know why cowboys were so big on whiskey!
What else can you do? Try some of these things:
- When washing hands, rub them vigorously on front and back for at least 20 seconds.
- Rinse hands thoroughly after washing and dry completely.
- Frequently wipe down surfaces around home and other environments. Try this mixture instead of antibacterial cleaners.
- Do not go to work, shopping or visit friends while you are sick. Most offices are simply a brewing pot for disease when employees come to work sick.
Antibacterial soaps and other liquids do more harm to the environment than they do good. Nearly all antibacterial soaps and liquids contain triclosan and triclocarban; and both are environmentally unfriendly.
Finally, a growing number of experts believe that we are slowly building up to the existence of “super bugs” and the fear is we will have nothing that will be strong enough to combat them.