The world is full of germs so you would think that antibacterial products are a good thing. Well, they are up to a certain point. There are so many products on the market today that combat germs like antibacterial soaps, antibacterial toys and even antibacterial laundry detergent. The fact of the matter is that plain old soap and water often does the trick a lot better than these products at protecting you from harmful germs.
A strong contingent of doctors and scientists believe that an over-proliferation of antibacterial products can actual do us more harm than good. There is some concern that overusing these products and even the misuse of them can actually destroy the good bacteria we need in nature while destroying weaker bacteria in the process. The reasoning is that by these actions, we all are opening ourselves up to a plethora of stronger bacteria that is able to withstand hygienic and medicinal measures.
Why We Need Some Bacteria and Other Germs
Unless you have a weak immune system, there is no need to live in a sterile environment. In fact, disinfecting and sterilizing too much will prevent children’s immune responses from growing and maturing. How can the immune systems of these young bodies learn to recognize and combat germs unless they are exposed to them?
A lot of bacteria are basically harmless and it is necessary to be exposed to these bacteria as well as other microorganisms in order for your immune system to produce the necessary antibodies to fight off future infections. Without that exposure, your body will not be strong enough to fight off more harmful germs.
Many scientific studies show that over-cleanliness can actually lead to the very things that you are trying to avoid such as sinus issues, allergies and asthma. Most doctors agree that the only places where antibacterial products are necessary are in clinical and healthcare settings. In these settings, people are likely to have compromised immune systems and cannot afford an infection.
Instead of using the wide variety of antibacterial products to clean your home, stick with more traditional cleaning methods like soap and water, chlorine bleach, alcohol and hydrogen peroxide. While these do kill bacteria, they also dissipate rather quickly and allow new bacteria – both good and bad – to develop. With antibacterial products, these tend to leave a residue which hinders the development of new bacteria.
The overuse of antibacterial products only contributes to a larger problem – antibiotic resistance. When you are not exposed to bacteria so your body can develop antibodies to fight off infection, what happens when you actually get really sick? Antibiotics may not be as effective because like anything else, only the strongest survive. So that means, some really potent bacteria made you sick and chances are, the bacteria are more resistance to treatment.
It is like a vicious circle when it comes to bacteria and other germs. You get sick if you are exposed to them and yet, you get sick if you use the antibacterial products too much. By sticking with the basics in general hygiene such as hand washing and a clean home (think regular soap and water), perhaps the public at large can start seeing some real progress against the “real” fight with bacterial infections.