I don’t know about you but I’ve watched with mounting horror the rise of antibacterial hand soaps, wipes and hand sanitisers – even to the point of the most ridiculous: the Dettol handwash automatic soap dispenser. You know, the one where you don’t even have to touch – heaven forbid!!! – the disgusting germ-infested pump on your usual soap dispenser? (I mean let’s not think for a minute about the germs you’re leaving on the tap when you turn on the water … or the door handle when you walked into the bathroom … )
I read an article in ERGOparent Magazine the other day on this very topic citing research indicating that these products could actually be contributing to the rise of drug-resistant bacteria – not to mention the effect of the alcohol (some 65% by volume) and synthetic chemicals in them.
It’s worth remembering (from Scientific American):
Most bacteria are well-behaved companions [and] outnumber human cells by a ratio of ten to one. Of all the tens of thousands of known bacterial species, only about 100 are renegades that break the rules of peaceful coexistence and make us sick.
I used to let my daughter play in the dirt as much as she liked when she was a child – much to my own mother’s horror who was constantly telling me her “face needs wiping”. Whether it’s related or not I don’t know, but my now nearly teenage daughter has never been sick a day in her life worth mentioning and resists most of the ‘common’ illnesses doing the rounds. If she does pick something up, she’s usually over it in a couple of days.
Kick off your shoes! Run around in the dirt. Have a mud fight or (remember this?) make some mud pies with your kids!
Our hypomanic fear of all things germ-related is probably doing us more harm than good. I don’t know about you but I’d prefer not to live my life in an hermetically sealed bubble.