Marks Daily Apple
Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.
7 Jan

Assessing Sanitizers: Cleaning Up the Confusion

handsanitizerIf you believe the ads, we live in a squalid hotbed of menacing microbes. Evil germs are everywhere and out to get us – especially the innocent, well-dressed children playing nearby. The smart ones among us, the marketers tell us, navigate this ominous world armed with the right sanitizing defense. Even the grimiest restroom, the ad images show, can become as innocuous as a sparkling, surgery-ready space if we only have the security of hand sanitizer. Yes, the power of the imagination…

Sure, the marketing gurus make their buck by coaxing rampant, misplaced fear in the populace. (Funny how we don’t seem as terrified by a “Biggie” order of French fries as we do our own door knobs.) However, let’s put aside the cautionary ads and look at the facts. Sales have risen some 70% since last year. Part of it is the whole H1N1 alarm, but it’s a general trend as well. Even if the craze isn’t warranted, what about more moderate use of the products? Do these things even work? Do they really keep us healthier? Are we breeding so-called “superbugs” every time we use a squirt or spray? As always, let’s break it down.

The vast majority of hand sanitizers out there are alcohol based (like Purell) with one or more of the typical n-propanol, isopropanol or ethanol. To be effective, they contain anywhere from 60-90% alcohol. The alcohol “kills” (i.e. deactivates) the germs but requires the full drying time to do so. Additionally, sanitizers offer some ongoing, residual protection by making the skin surface inhospitable for bacteria and viruses. Ethanol-based sanitizers do a better job at killing certain viruses like the norovirus. Natural sanitizers like CleanWell use extracts from herbs (thyme being one) with inherent antiseptic properties and show effectiveness rates similar to chemical-based products (PDF Press Release).

Next, are you less likely to get the cold or flu if you use them regularly? Research suggests that college dorm residents (PDF) and elementary students given instruction and ready access to hand sanitizers show fewer overall infections and absentee rates than control groups. (It’s worth noting that the elementary school students used an herbal, alcohol-free sanitizer.) One randomized cross-over comparison of traditional hand-washing measures versus sanitizer use in an elementary school showed similar effectiveness in reducing absenteeism.

What are the cons of these products? Although alcohol-based sanitizers appear to be easier on the skin than soap and water washing, some people react to the products. Aside from the alcohol itself, other ingredients can be suspect, particularly the fragrances used in some formulas. There’s also some concern about the use of ethanol-based sanitizers, particularly on children. A safety review out last year suggested additional research was necessary to confirm topical safety for regular use products. Herbal-based sanitizers don’t dry hands as much as alcohol-based products, and they’re generally viewed as safe options across the board. One up and coming category I’d definitely recommend skipping is the silver nanoparticle sanitizer. The research shows too many risks to make these products worthwhile by a long shot.

As for the risk of encouraging “superbugs,” the whole of the research suggests that sanitizers are in the clear. The real culprit here is triclosan (PDF), an anti-bacterial ingredient found in everything from anti-bacterial soaps to mouthwash to lunch boxes to running shoes (look for the “microban” label). It’s a potent endocrine-disruptor. If you have a choice of washing with a triclosan-based soap or using a regular hand sanitizer, I’d go with the sanitizer – hands down. (Sorry – couldn’t resist.)

Personally, I don’t think sanitizers are necessary for normal, everyday circumstances, but I don’t see too much harm in them, particularly the natural herb-based brands. Maintaining a strong immune system and using good old soap and water are your best defenses. That old advice about not rubbing your eyes, nose or mouth was right on as well. A study published this fall linked nearly one third of flu risk to participants’ hand to face contact. If you’re traveling and worry you might not have access to a washroom, I don’t see a problem with taking along a bottle of natural sanitizer. At worst, it’s simply an unnecessary measure. At best, it might give you some peace of mind. And, of course, if you’re the one who’s sick and you want to exercise some extra precaution/courtesy, go ahead and use it as a backup to hand washing when you need to. All that said, I fear that hand sanitizers represent a growing trend to sterilize anything and everything when sometimes all we need is a little dirt, dust and dishevelment.

But let me turn it over to all of you. Do you use sanitizers on an occasional or regular basis? Do you skip them altogether? Let me know what you think. Thanks for reading.

You want comments? We got comments:

Imagine you’re George Clooney. Take a moment to admire your grooming and wit. Okay, now imagine someone walks up to you and asks, “What’s your name?” You say, “I’m George Clooney.” Or maybe you say, “I’m the Clooninator!” You don’t say “I’m George of George Clooney Sells Movies Blog” and you certainly don’t say, “I’m Clooney Weight Loss Plan”. So while spam is technically meat, it ain’t anywhere near Primal. Please nickname yourself something your friends would call you.

  1. I’ve also heard that part of the cause for all of our deadly allergies these days (my kids both have nut allergies)is our hyper-santization of everything. We’re not passing along the same immunities we used to. Don’t know how everyone feels about that.

    glorth2 wrote on January 7th, 2010
    • Not to even pretend to be an expert about your children’s allergies (my grandson also has a deadly nut allergy so I am sympathetic), but it appears that the problem with allergies is too strong an immune response, not too weak of one.

      In other words, your children’s bodies see the nut proteins (which are really benign) as a deadly threat, and their bodies go all out to “kill” them. So, in this case, FEWER immunities might be of help.

      gharkness wrote on January 7th, 2010
      • Allergies are also a result of a weak digestive system. Proteins are primarily digested in the stomach by HCl. If you are low in HCl which most people are these days (due in part from our refined food diet, drinking too much cold liquid with meals and many more reasons), than protein is not properly digested and enters the intestines as such. The pancreas than works over time sending extra digestive enzymes, but if the food is still too large in can irritate the gut lining which can than result in leaky gut. When food particles leak through the gut lining the body attacks (immune response) and this food is now the enemy. This happens with highly processed foods too, like corn, wheat and dairy. The body has trouble digesting altered foods because it doesn’t recognize them. Sorry for the rant. :)

        Elizabeth wrote on January 7th, 2010
      • A strong immune system _reaction_ is not an indication of a strong immune system. An immune system, be it strong or weak, that responds violently to normally harmless substances is incompetent.

        DJayne wrote on January 7th, 2010
      • “Strong” is the wrong word (and really, weak is also the wrong word). Its not that the immune system is slower or smaller or anything, its that it is unbalanced. Excessive cleanliness, especially during infancy when your immune system is developing, does seem to increase allergies. It is believed that this is because the mother’s immune system adjusts itself to prevent the immune system from attacking the developing child. When a child is born, it has an immune system balanced similarly to the preganant mother’s. If it isn’t exposed to a certain level of pathogens in the enviornment, it doesn’t adjust properly to the presence of pathogens. Different classes of T Cells serve different functions, and if your body produces them in the wrong proportion, you are likely to get too much emphasis on dietary threats.

        David wrote on September 3rd, 2010
  2. The best method is to wash your hands with soap and water. And don’t use the antimicrobial ones, since the bug’s will get resistant to them anyway.
    The study about hand to face contat puzzles me. The flu is spread by droplet/Aerosol, not contact. And don’t give a bottle of alcohol based hand sanitizer to a child. If they drink that stuff they’ll get really sick.

    Dave, RN wrote on January 7th, 2010
    • I also tend to stick with soap & water.

      About hand to face contact — I don’t think they’re just talking about the flu. All kinds of things are spread via contact. Plus, even airborne germs can be spread via contact. The experience of a lot of doctors backs up this point: don’t touch your face! It’s an excellent rule of thumb, particularly when you know you’re exposed to something.

      FoodRenegade wrote on January 7th, 2010
  3. I personally only use them when I am in dire need and there is no other alternative. I too agree with the statement that we are sterilizing everything and we would be much better off getting our hands dirty once in a while and letting our bodies build up our immune systems the old fashion way “exposure”. Great topic Mark, thanks for your insight.

    gmt1181 wrote on January 7th, 2010
  4. I always get sick when I’ve been in the school computer labs. For that I have a bottle of hand sanitizer as well as a bottle of olive oil & thieves oil mix(and I always wash my hands after I’m done there). You touch your face without realizing it, and not everything is airborne, so you can get other stuff from touching your face too.

    Green Onion wrote on January 7th, 2010
  5. I never use sanitizers, anti-bacterial lotions, or any of that stuff. (I never use those paper things on toilet seats, either, but maybe that’s a topic for another day.) I’m a firm believer in the exact opposite: exposing our bodies to healthy amount of dirt and bacteria to help build the immune system, and have applied that to my daughter, as well. She plays in sand and mud with me, we crawl/sit/roll on grass in public parks, and swim in any open body of water we can find. We’re both healthy as can be, and have a great time on top of it! I’m amazed at fellow parents who refuse to allow their children to go to swimming for fear of the “dirty” water and/or sand. This is in Chicago, and we live a ten-minute walk from beautiful Lake Michigan beaches. Sad, isn’t it?

    Michelle wrote on January 7th, 2010
    • Also, when I lived in and traveled through Asia in my 20s, I functioned in basic, grimy conditions from day to day, and ate some pretty sketchy food when that was all available. Ironically, after traveling in rural hinterlands for weeks, the only time I got seriously ill was when I contracted Giardia after eating in a Pizza Hut in the capital of Malaysia. Not saying that proves anything, of course.

      Michelle wrote on January 7th, 2010
    • Finally, someone who doesn’t use the paper things on the toilet seat! :)

      I also completely agree about getting a healthy exposure to natural microbes and bacteria. My kids play like kids without fear of getting dirty or getting sanitized afterwards. Swimming in natural water is supposed to be great for your immune system (though I’m not sure about that if the water’s loaded with pollutants!).

      Elizabeth @ The Nourished Life wrote on January 7th, 2010
  6. I never used that sanitizing crap. I go to a large university in NC, ride the bus/subway there almost everyday, go to the gym often, and I have yet to get sick – not even a minor cold or runny nose! It’s all about the diet if you ask me!

    Raphael wrote on January 7th, 2010
  7. I don’t use hand sanitizers, never thought about keeping it handy though, makes me think i should now. I wash my hands very, very often, i always buy what does NOT say anti-bacterial soaps, just the “orignal” soaps is my preference. But after reading this, now i’m thinking twice about keeping it around.

    Donna wrote on January 7th, 2010
  8. NYC*

    Raphael wrote on January 7th, 2010
  9. Never use them. Figure since I didn’t grow up using them I’m good, plus I can’t stand all the fear based marketing behind it.

    lars wrote on January 7th, 2010
  10. I use em when my fiancee’ uses it as she always has some sort of natural hand sani with her. Beyond that, I think a little dirt could do you good. Make you stronger. Nothing is foolproof anyway. People used to sleep on the raw ground.

    Jim wrote on January 7th, 2010
    • I wasn’t raised to constantly wash my hands, and I was rarely sick. When I do actually contract something it is generally very mild and only stays long enough to make me ponder if I am actually sick. I am of the same opinion that you need to exercise your immune system, not keep it sheltered so that when something big does attack it runs for the hills. Bring on the dirt!

      Carlotta wrote on January 9th, 2010
  11. I’ve never used these if I can avoid it. Just doesn’t make sense, killing these things is the immune system’s job and doing so keeps it in working order. They might be useful for someone who’s already infected since their immune system’s got enough on its plate already though?

    gazb wrote on January 7th, 2010
  12. Not only do I not use sanitizers unless I absolutely must, but I make my own soap. It’s very easy once you get the method down, and no triclosan in it! Lasts a long time, too, not to mention: cheap!

    gharkness wrote on January 7th, 2010
  13. I have just moved to the US from the UK and find the whole sanitizer-craze here hilarious. They even have it at checkouts in some stores now, and by the pens in banks. I never use it – I am always outdoors and I am sure this builds up a good immunity. I also help my body by following Marks’ advice. The only time I get sick is with severe stress (e.g. the whole move on top of a new job). It amazes me to see girls here use sanitizer then eat junk food, got to a bar, drink beer, and ram their tongue down the nearest stranger.

    Exercise in moderation (i.e. move about, no excessive cardio), eat well (paleo), don’t drink too much, sleep and enjoy life. Wash your hands thoroughly after using the bathroom, use condoms. Then ditch the sanitizer.

    Lekki Wood wrote on January 7th, 2010
  14. The thing I hate the most is being in a public bathroom with those hand drying machines and no paper towels. Then when you want to leave you have to pull the handle (yuck) or wait until someone else comes through the door. Why can’t they make the door a push to exit when they have no paper towels?? Really dumb thinking…Another reason I stay out of McDonalds…But I do like their coffee…

    Dusty wrote on January 7th, 2010
    • Not sure if you’re joking or not. While it may seem to you that fellow bathroom-users’ hands are germ-infested leaving a public bathroom, if you accept it to be true that most people wash their hands with soap and water after using the toilet, then their hands are actually quite clean when they touch the exit handle, much more so than when they enter the bathroom: Who knows where their hands were in the hours before?

      Michelle wrote on January 7th, 2010
      • I don’t know about “most people wash their hands with soap and water after using the toilet”. Since I’ve had kids and they’ve reached the stage where they can wash their own hands I’ve noticed that about 90% percent of people don’t wash their hands afetr using a public restroom, 5% run their hands under the water only, and only about 5% use soap and water.

        Ben wrote on January 7th, 2010
      • Can’t agree, after thinking through the toilet process. A person ‘wipes’, & then uses the hand they wiped with to turn the water faucet on. After washing, they put their clean hand on the still dirty (fecal coloform from many people on faucet handle) handle to turn it off. Then they dry & proceed to door handle. I don’t mind dirt at all; It’s good for us. But fecal coloform is another matter. So, I Always use a home made hand sanitizer after using a public bathroom. (Too much toxicity in isopropyl alcohol based store sanitizers). To make your own, mix grain alcohol such as vodka with a natural oil like orange oil found @ stores such as Whole Foods.

        Allison wrote on July 30th, 2012
  15. Not once did I used hand sanitizer while we had the flu/cold/h1n1 season over nov/dec whereas everyone else in the office was. Guess who was the one person who didn’t get sick. That’s right, moi. My personal belief is that our immune systems are meant to deal with this kind of stuff. The more you rely on external agents to do the job, the less your body has to work at ridding itself of nasties IMO.

    Lovestoclimb wrote on January 7th, 2010
    • Also, I had a very clean diet that consisted of pretty much zero sugars.

      Lovestoclimb wrote on January 7th, 2010
      • Your story sounds like mine. My friends were all barricaded in their homes for fear of catching the swine flu, while I was out as usual and didn’t spend a lot of time worrying about it.

        We haven’t had the flu ever as far as I know, and in the last year (since beginning a traditional foods diet) we’ve only had a mild cold pass through the house – and it was barely enough to notice.

        A real food diet is the best prevention method in my opinion. At least, it’s worked pretty darn well for me.

        Elizabeth @ The Nourished Life wrote on January 7th, 2010
  16. I work at several tradeshows in the winter. Following those tradeshows are the only time I would get sick all year.

    Two years ago I started keeping an alcohol hand sanitizer at my booth and using it every 30 minutes or so. I shake lots of hands and rarely get a bathroom break where I might be able to wash my hands.

    I haven’t had “tradeshow flu” since starting this practice.

    aurelia wrote on January 7th, 2010
    • Makes sense – when you’re working a tradeshow, not only are you in a new environment, you’re under greater stress and probably not following your usual routines. Exactly the time when a little help from a hand sanitizer makes sense.

      DJayne wrote on January 7th, 2010
  17. My Momma always told me…

    What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger. I for one am a staunch non-user of Sanitizers and anti-bacterial soap and our household also limits or has eliminated almost all harse chemical “sanitizers” from our cleaning closet.

    Our immune systems need to be challenged on a regular basis. Sterilizing everything with chemicals simply makes us weaker in the long run.

    While there are practical uses for sanitizers (both personal and household/commercial) such as hospitals and Institutions, we should all make an effort to “go primal” when it comes to germs.

    A little caution when handling raw meat, a little consideration when coughing and sneezing and a lot of common sense when it comes to how much of this garbage we admit in to our lifestyles is all that is needed.

    mikecheliak wrote on January 7th, 2010
  18. I find this post very interesting because it was a hot topic in many of my circles at the beginning of the H1N1 flu season in the fall. I work at the local arena and after watching a mother ply her 2 year olds hands with hand sanitizer everytime he touched something I went to the washroom to get a break from the scene that was unfolding before me. As I was at the sink washing my hands with soap and water, the same mother and child came out of a stall. She decided to skip the hand washing all together and as they were exiting the washroom she said to the child, let’s go get some more hand sanitizer. I was simply stunned that she would rather forgo teaching her child the healthy habit of handwashing after bladder/bowel evacuation for the comfort of the all powerful hand sanitizer. I don’t understand how a person feels that hand sanitizer is a better alternative to just good old fashion common sense.

    Kelly Stanley wrote on January 7th, 2010
  19. Did anyone see the story on Good Morning America (or similar) about germs found on new clothes? They tested and found yummy stuff like fecal matter and “vaginal flora” on new clothes, I guess from people trying them on. What’s the point in running a story like that, besides trying to stir up some paranoia? Who cares? I’d be more scared if they tested -anything- sitting out in the open and found no germs!

    I agree with other comments that your diet/exercise choices have a huge impact on not getting sick. Since starting CF and PB/lower carb eating I haven’t been sick. But when I was exercising for 2-3+hrs a day and eating like crap I was always getting colds & sinus/tonsil infections.

    Thanks you Mark ; )

    later,
    b

    brian p wrote on January 7th, 2010
  20. I think many here are confusing the general dirt that helps make immune systems strong with bacteria and viruses that can make you really sick. Backyard dirt, grass, lakewater, etc. are not sources of e-coli, MRSA, staph infections, and H1N1/flu. No, antibacterial soaps with triclosan are not good, but the alcohol sanitizers don’t make these bugs resistant. If you believe that you can strengthen your immune systems to repel the new superbugs by getting dirty, you are in for trouble.

    David wrote on January 7th, 2010
    • Thank you.
      If you are exposed to a significant viral load of a strain you have not encountered then you will get sick, regardless of how ‘strong’ your immune system is; to think otherwise is delusional. An individual’s response to a particular virus may vary greatly depending on the state of their health but the best defence will always be to avoid it altogether.

      Alexl wrote on January 7th, 2010
  21. I’ll buck the trend here. I use hand sanitizers many times throughout the day and haven’t been sick in years. I’ve noticed that the people who tease me most about my Purell addiction are the ones who are out sick most often. Not saying this necessarily proves anything, but I HATE being sick, so will take any and all precautions I can.

    Robin wrote on January 7th, 2010
  22. Im the OR everyday. I use commercial hand sanitizers all the time. Usually its by choice, and sometimes its not by choice.

    But before I get in my car, I always sanitize..

    GotPrimal wrote on January 7th, 2010
  23. I am a first year medical student and I am amazed at how many of my fellow classmates use the hand sanitizers, sometimes on an hourly basis.

    I believe that the hand sanitizers are just smell good alcohol used to make billions of dollars each year. People could go out and buy an 89 cent bottle of alcohol to pour over their hands that would be just as effective.

    We have more bacterial cells in/on our body than we have actual body cells. The “good” bacteria on your skin usually kills the bad stuff. Why not trust in our evolutionary symbiosis with these good things rather than using alcohol?

    Oh, and gharkness, you are correct. An allergy is an over reaction by the immune system to a usually benign substance such as nut protein or pollen.

    Woody wrote on January 7th, 2010
  24. I think the biggest overlying danger we face using anti-microbials is that we’re killing off all the good “bugs” that we have that help support our health. The more we use sanitizers and anti-bacterial soaps, the more we become dependent on them, and the cycle never ends.

    Recently (within the past 6 months) have switched all my soap out to regular soap. No more anti-microbial stuff.

    Brad Gross wrote on January 7th, 2010
  25. I’ve read that the anti-bacterial agents are capable of being absorbed into the body.

    No thanks.

    Mr.M wrote on January 7th, 2010
    • Doctors caught drunk driving have tried that as an excuse, claiming their blood alcohol levels are due to absorption of sanitiser that they use so often while working. Don’t think any of them have gotten away with it yet.

      Sarah wrote on January 13th, 2010
  26. I don’t use hand sanitizers. I figure, most germs aren’t going to kill me, and a healthy immune system is the best defense. I know people who use them every other moment, it seems like, and are constantly worried about the ‘new’ places you can pick up germs from.

    Katt wrote on January 7th, 2010
  27. There is an older woman in my gym who brings her sanitizer bottle to each machine she gets on. She cleans the machine before and after each use. Maybe she had cancer or has a weak immune system? It seems a bit obsessive, but I’m sure it helps if your immune system is suppressed (she’s probably early 70’s)

    g2baker wrote on January 7th, 2010
  28. I’m a nurse, so we are always being told to “wash your hands!” and “use hand sanitizer!” constantly!! I remember seeing some research on how our hyper-sanitization of everything nowadays has increased the incedence of auto-immune disorders, so I don’t worry too much about being exposed to germs myself. At work, to protect the people I take care of who have weakened immune systems, I just use plain soap and water, and “Clean Well” herbal hand sanitizer when I don’t have time to wash my hands.

    Ika wrote on January 7th, 2010
  29. I am an elementary school teacher, and we have the kids use hand sanitized after their restroom breaks. This is for 2 reasons- there is no soap in our restrooms half the time (inner city school) and our students don’t wash their hands when there is soap. They might run their hands under water, but they don’t use the soap. And yes, we do try to educate them but it doesn’t help.
    If I ever had a student tell me their parents don’t want them to use sanitized, I would respect that. But since I’ve started using the sanitizer, I get sick less, and my students are sick less. That makes it worth it for me.

    lady_daraine wrote on January 7th, 2010
  30. For all the general comments of the tone: “some dirt and grime is good for you”, “your immune system is designed to fight off this stuff”, etc.

    Just remember, Grok didn’t live in supercrowded megacities or fly on airplanes. Modern diseases have really nasty potential. When you don’t wash your hands regularly in public, you’re not just getting “a little dirt and grime”, you’re potentially getting a nasty viral strain that multiplied and evolved quickly in supercrowded conditions (animal and/or human) and arrived from halfway across the world.

    FDgreen wrote on January 7th, 2010
    • It’s still an evolutionary process. The more you are exposed to something, the better chance you have to develop the ability to combat it.

      It doesn’t matter that Grok didn’t face our environment, what matters is that WE face our environment and the more we rely on artificial means the less our bodies work to naturally combat the problem.

      Nobody in our house has had so much as a major cold in more than two years. We don’t use ANY sanitizer, anti-bacterial soap or any other money grab “safety” item and as a point of interest, we don’t use soap after going to the bathroom. Just a good dose of running water, agitating hands and that’s it.

      mikecheliak wrote on January 7th, 2010
      • ‘The more you are exposed to something, the better chance you have to develop the ability to combat it’

        So if I repeatedly exposed myself to HIV, or malaria, or smallpox, then would I increase my body’s chance of defending itself?

        Alexl wrote on January 7th, 2010
        • Thank you!! For those of you who are nurses and doctors and don’t feel it’s necessary to sanitize yourselves, I hope you’ll get the pants sued off of you when your patients contract staph infections. I’ve known too many people who have been offed in hospitals because of idiots such as yourselves. Ever heard of Dr. Lister?

          Katy wrote on January 7th, 2010
      • we don’t use soap after going to the bathroom. Just a good dose of running water, agitating hands and that’s it.

        And that’s why I use Purell after shaking hands.

        Sid wrote on January 7th, 2010
      • I think humankind has been exposed to fecal matter for millions of years, but that doesn’t seem to have rendered it harmless, now has it?

        David wrote on January 7th, 2010
  31. Hand sanitizers give my hands a rash. I’ve hated them ever since we were required to use them at the end of each class in 8th grade chem lab.

    Icarus wrote on January 7th, 2010
  32. I think people are confused about some of these products!

    Alcohol based sanitizers (as well as those using benzalkonium chloride) are harmless and do not contribute to the whole antibiotic resistance thing we’ve heard so much about.

    Triclosan, on the other hand, IS dangerous in my estimation. It is found in some hand sanitizers and most antibacterial soaps. It is a poison and it is absorbed through the skin.

    I never use products with triclosan but I do use alcohol-based sanitizer. I keep a bottle in my car for right after I pump gas, mainly.

    Susan wrote on January 7th, 2010
  33. I work with computers in an elementary school – sharing keyboards and mice with hundreds of kids who ..well..you know what kids are like. Between my healthy ‘lifestyle’ and soap and water, I do just fine.

    ivy wrote on January 7th, 2010
  34. It’s not enough to have a healthy lifestyle and immune system. History has lots of examples of healthy-livin populations being destroyed by contagious diseases. We’re going to evolve defenses, and diseases will evolve ways around them. Use common sense, and get used to the idea that you’re going to catch a cold from time to time.

    Lis wrote on January 7th, 2010
  35. “A real food diet is the best prevention method in my opinion.”

    Prevention of what? Did a real food diet (one that my great-grandparents would have eaten) prevent typhoid, diphtheria, mumps, measles, chicken-pox, small-pox, whooping cough, yellow fever, tetanus, etc., etc.?

    David wrote on January 7th, 2010
  36. I’m a big believer in building immunity through small exposures to dirt and gunk and such. That said, a very good friend of my kids’ just had a five-organ transplant and is immunosuppressed. You can BET we use a lot of soap & water, and a lot of sanitizer. Anecdotally, my kids and I have been healthier for it.

    Liz wrote on January 7th, 2010
  37. Since the latest flu (hoax?)people where I live (northern Scandinavia) have been using hand sanitizers excessively.
    Now, the flu epidemic never reached the levels our health organisations said they would, i’m not going to speculate hand sanitizers had anything to do with it. But interesting is that the number of people infected with the Norovirus that usually infects a lot of people during winter time is drastically reduced and the assumption is that is because of hand sanitizers.

    Max wrote on January 7th, 2010
  38. I’ve got a hand wash recently and it’s just pretty much pure alcohol. As I’m trying to give up drinking at the moment, I never use it :)

    Richard S wrote on January 8th, 2010
  39. I’m a first grade teacher, and we NEVER use hand sanitizer in my classroom. We wash our hands quite a few times every day, and I’m pretty sure I have fewer children sick in my room. I personally haven’t gotten sick in several years. I think the hand sanitizer tricks people into thinking that they’re safe.

    Kristy wrote on January 8th, 2010
  40. I rarely use sanitizers, but ALWAYS wash my hands after using the restroom. The exception is, if they don’t have soap and water(like a porta potty), I use the sanitizer, just to keep my hands cleaner before playing with my children or touching food. We don’t use traditional sterilizers and we don’t make sure the kids are always spotless, and our kids are hardly sick. My sister and her husband, try to eat healthy, but use sanitizer all the time, make sure they’re kids are clean all the time. And they’re kids are sick allot. Every time they take a trip they end up getting sick (throw up) on the way home, and worse.
    We are now eating healthy, no flour and only natural sugar. And even before that we’ve gotten threw many of cold seasons (our children hardly ate sugary foods), with very little colds, or flues. I think if we are hyper clean, we also are hyper sick. When we come into contact with germs, our body would normally fight them off, but when rarely exposed, we don’t know what to do with them. I’ve seen this with so many other families. The families that sanitize and clean all the time(use Lysol and other harmful cleaners) are sick, Allot. But the families who clean normally and wash their hands and dishes with normal soap and water, are less sick. If you disagree, look around at all the families near you, and watch the children who get sick, and the ones who stay healthy. We should do a survey on that. Thanks for the reminder, that too clean, isn’t good for our immune systems. Just like everything else, everything in moderation.

    Esther Anders wrote on January 8th, 2010

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