Now I’ve Just Had It. A Rant on Health

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People of earth; regular day-to-day, non-medical personnel or police personnel:

PLEASE. PLEASE stop using antibacterial soaps and antibacterial household cleaners. I’m not trying to scare both of you, but here’s the truth:

Do you know what’s happening because of our country’s planet’s truly bizarre and scary obsession with germs? We are getting sicker and the antibiotics we’re taking aren’t working. As a result, they’re going to the gym, working out and meeting other germs and rocking the hell out of us with their SuperGerms. MRSA, anyone? Read on.

this is your body after using antibacterial soaps. this is a clinical, actual microscopic slide. the germs are called fauxgerms and they are all over my iPad.

this is your body after using antibacterial soaps. this is a clinical, actual microscopic slide. the germs are called fauxgerms and they are all over my iPad.

You know, how when you exercise too much, you get worn down? Or if you eat the same foods, you get sick of them or you can develop intolerances to them? Or how if you wash your hands all the time (that’s one thing) but unnecessarily with antibacterial soap that you end up putting its tricolsan in the water supply and the environment and what happens when you keep doing that? You’re basically telling the germs you love them. The germs and bacteria don’t need to go to the gym to workout and meet others, because what we’re doing is killing off the common bacterial we can handle and that is good for us (ever heard of the word, “probiotic” or “good bacteria”? — it’s true… there are bacteria that are good for us…) and that these soaps don’t know the difference between good and bad bacteria, just like your adrenal glands don’t know the difference between good stress (YAY! WE WON THE LOTTERY!) and bad stress (CRAP! WE HAVE TO DECLARE BANKRUPTCY!) and they end up secreting waaaaaay too much cortisol which makes you fat around your organs and your belly…? (The cortisol thing is a topic for another post — I know too much about this stuff.)

The point is: wash your hands with regular soap and regular water. Just do it. Regular soap removes everything you don’t need on your hands exactly as it should. If you don’t work in a hospital or medical office or in an ambulance or police station or health clinic or dentist’s office or school clinic:

LAY OFF THE ANTIBACTERIAL SOAP.

Just leave it alone. Leave it for the doctors. Leave it for the EMTs for the nurses, for the dentists for the people who actually need it. Good God just leave it alone. The execs at the antibacterial soap manufacturers? They don’t care. They want to scare the hell out of you to get you to buy it. They want you to line their pockets with gold so they can build their panic rooms and safe houses to keep you away from them when all bacterial hell breaks loose. Trust me: they don’t care about you.

Watch this… it will illustrate it humorously:

Eat off the floor. Increase the 5-second rule to 10, you will live better for it! TRUTH.

I realize I can’t moanandgroan about this without providing solutions: use Ivory, Dove, Method, even softsoap makes a regular soap now, I think it’s called “SoftClean” or something ridiculously brand-specific like that. Bath and Body Works are some of the worst? best?  most active promoters of the antibacsoaps. They make them smell like fruit salads so you think you’re cleaner but you’re not; you’re hurting yourself and the rest of us. DON’T BUY THEM.

What to else to buy? I love the fancy “Caldrea” pump soaps at Target (my favorite is “green tea” – I swear, I could get stoned off it, I love the way it smells so much, ask my kids, I sniff them like a bear would when they come out of the bathroom), there’s a great soap here: http://www.vitacost.com/natures-gate-organics-liquid-soap-lemongrass-and-clary-sage-12-fl-oz and all national big box stores sell all sorts of regular soaps.

A nurse friend of mine commented on my FB page about hand-washing, that actually all any soap does is loosen the dirt, etc. The hand-rubbing and chlorinated water usually do the trick. Live on well water? Same thing. YOU WILL LIVE. Probably better than you do now if you toss the antibacsoaps.

As a blogger friend said to me today, “the germophobes are going to kill us all; as if the Howie Mandels of the world are the predominant normal people.”

don't be afraid, just be smart. stop using this stuff. please.

don’t be afraid, just be smart. stop using this stuff. please. i drew this.

Don’t go all boo-hoo on me either. I hail from a long proud and stubborn line of clinically diagnosed and treated Obsessive Compulsives, so don’t tell me I’m making fun or being insensitive to those with OCD. I’m NOT. I’m just one person, who’s been unable to shake a cold for the last 4 weeks and who’s watched every single one of her kids go down for illnesses they should have been able to beat but probably couldn’t because their schools are loaded with antibacterial soaps. In the past month my sons have come down with strep and today, Scarlet fever (which is strep, I know that) but this is NUTS… they we never get sick here. Truly very seldom.

Think I’m full of crap? Go here (data from an environmental ONCOLOGY — you know: “CANCER” center):

“Antibacterial soap and disinfectants may contain triclosan or other active ingredients classified by the EPA as pesticides. Studies by government scientists have shown that regular use of antibacterial soap allows bacteria to become resistant to them and can irritate the skin, especially the skin of infants and children. In fact, in 2005, an FDA panel, in an 11 to 1 vote, warned that popular mass-marketed antibacterial soaps and washes showed no evidence of preventing infections more effectively than hand washing with regular soap.

The FDA asked for the panel’s advice because of concerns that common antimicrobial agents used in the soaps, such as triclosan and triclocarban, that can also be found in products ranging from deodorants to plastics, accumulate in groundwater and soil. As they build up in the environment, these chemicals could eventually contaminate drinking water and farmed food. This could give rise to potentially dangerous resistant bacteria.

Several experts caution that even the potential risk of resistance may not be worth continued mass marketing of soaps that have no proven benefit to consumers. Drug-resistant bacteria are considered a major health threat by public health experts. Some strains, including S. aureus (staph), have shown increased levels of resistance to multiple antibiotics. The safest solution is to wash your hands frequently for 15 seconds at a time with warm soapy water and using paper towels or air drying to avoid transmitting infections.”

Source: http://www.upci.upmc.edu/ceo/soap/

Or here:

“You know when your doctor prescribed a course of antibiotics and told you to take the entire prescription? You really should’ve listened. Thanks to millions of misused antibiotic prescriptions worldwide (how many half-empty bottles are in your medicine cabinet ri­ght now?), the bacteria you intend to kill are getting stronger. In fact, some bacteria — like the MRSA superbug — are immune to select antibiotics.”

Source: http://health.howstuffworks.com/skin-care/cleansing/myths/antibacterial-soap-outlawed.htm

Or here:

“Tuberculosis, food poisoning, cholera, pneumonia, strep throat and meningitis: these are just a few of the unsavory diseases caused by bacteria. Hygiene—keeping both home and body clean—is one of the best ways to curb the spread of bacterial infections, but lately consumers are getting the message that washing with regular soap is insufficient. Antibacterial products have never been so popular. Body soaps, household cleaners, sponges, even mattresses and lip glosses are now packing bacteria-killing ingredients, and scientists question what place, if any, these chemicals have in the daily routines of healthy.”

… Unlike these traditional cleaners, antibacterial products leave surface residues, creating conditions that may foster the development of resistant bacteria, Levy notes. For example, after spraying and wiping an antibacterial cleaner over a kitchen counter, active chemicals linger behind and continue to kill bacteria, but not necessarily all of them.

When a bacterial population is placed under a stressor—such as an antibacterial chemical—a small subpopulation armed with special defense mechanisms can develop. These lineages survive and reproduce as their weaker relatives perish. “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” is the governing maxim here, as antibacterial chemicals select for bacteria that endure their presence.”

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=strange-but-true-antibacterial-products-may-do-more-harm-than-good

I could go on and on and on and on about this; but I won’t. I will tell you this: core ice samples of the arctic circle several thousand feet below have discovered super-old (that’s a scientific term) bacterial samples that you don’t even want to think about. When those glacier start to melt, I mean reeeeeeally melt, the stuff that’s gonna hit the water… and it will be different, is all I can say. I can’t judge, and there’s no way to suggest that they would be viable when they reintroduce themselves to the water systems, but…  Maybe we’ll all (times 15 generations) be dead by then, but the point is: if we’re not… I’m not sure I wanna be around then. Scientists aren’t suggesting another plague or “The Andromeda Strain” and there’s nothing we can do about any of that so let’s do something we can do something about: let’s get on the side of the good germs, the probiotics and treat our antibiotics with care and for the love of all that is good, decent and correct in this world: just STOP using the antibacterial soaps and household cleaners. JUST STOP. You’re MAKING it WORSE. Don’t put them in the toilet, just stop using them.

If you still don’t believe me: Google it, prove me wrong. Here’s one more article coming up next week (that’s right… I have connections…): http://www.scientificamerican.com/report.cfm?id=antibiotic-resistance-bacteria-in-depth

I welcome a nice healthy and civil debate. Good luck finding data that suggests I’m incorrect. I’ll buy you a case of Purell if I’m wrong.

Oh, and you’re wasting your money too: http://www.topclassactions.com/lawsuit-settlements/lawsuit-news/1552-softsoap-antibacterial-class-action-lawsuit

Do you have old meds and you don’t know what to do with them? This just in: put them in used coffee grounds! Don’t drink coffee? Shit… then, read this: http://www.ismp.org/consumers/throwAwayMedsSafely.asp

Thank you.

ps – one two three four more things: 1) chill out on the need for antibiotics. Chances are you don’t need them and neither does your kid. 2) Chill out on the tylenol and fever reducers: I am also not too quick to treat a fever unless my child is in pain or discomfort. If we bring down a fever too fast, the body can’t burn up the virus. People are loopy. Let the body do his or her AMAZING work. We’ve survived this long… we can do this ourselves. 3) Oh, and eat more yogurt or Kefir. And greens! 🙂 and 4) Do you know someone with a uterus? Is she moody sometimes and doesn’t know why? Maybe reading this will help: Living and Thriving with PMDD

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30 responses »

  1. We never had so many illnesses when we were kids. It didn’t matter if we ate sandwiches with hands covered in mud. We ate sandwiches with sand in them. We stuck our fingers in our mouths after grabbing stuff. We are destroying our own immune systems

  2. I am not gonna debate you………..because I am in total agreement!!! The only time I was freaked out with germs was when H1N1 was around and my guy was waiting to be vaccinated……..he has asthma and gets hit especially hard when any virus gets into his system……but as I said, I am rarely sick. I think I must have a kick ass immunity system, because when exhibiting every weekend in November for the past 5 years, and interacting with hundreds of people, I have yet to get sick………Thankfully……

    I do have Purell somewhere in this house, but never use it….I sent it into school with my not so ‘lil guy, but he forgets to use it……He is in quads and the bathroom is outside in another trailer so he has no convenient access to soap and water……amazingly he has been rather healthy this year…..hopefully we have turned a corner with his immunity system!

    The same goes with antibiotic prescriptions that some doctors give to people who insist on getting them when they are of no use for whatever is ailing them………just making those buggers stronger……..My sister had a MRSA infection and thankfully survived,…….not fun!!!

    It should be interesting to see if there is anyone who disagrees…………………

    • i went to a clinic the other day that was all too happy to write me a script for levaquin.

      purell is fine; it evaporates. and it doesn’t use triclosan like everything else does. that leaves a residue which is basically a clarion call to any other willing bacteria to come rescue the dying. we’re fooling ourselves if we think we will EVER outwit germs. it’s a joke. we are made of germs… people can be dumb dumb dumb dumb dumb.

      i am sorry your sister got so sick. that’s dangerous stuff. hospitals: it’s where people go to die. xoox

  3. As a previous microbiologist, I say thank you for speaking up! When I met my husband, he had antibacterial everything. We don’t anymore. My son, who has autism, and probably doesn’t wash his hands enough or know anything about bacteria is the healthiest in the house. I tell people it’s because he eats sand. In reality it’s because he has a strong basic flora. His body has seen a lot and can fight it. When i used to work in the lab, I would work with Strep, Staph and Neisseria meningitidis, I was never sick. My resistance is down a little now, but that I believe is more due to lack of sleep. I tell everyone I know don’t use antibacterial soap. I could go on about the 1/2 life of bleach, but that would be another paragraph. Regular soap works on everything. Great post!

    • Thank you, Carolyn! This needs to be shared and put on t-shirts and pressed on soaps and put on bumperstickers and read on airplanes… I appreciate very much your comments, especially as a member of the field. They’re nasty stuff, those germs, I get it, but I ate off dirt, played in mud, grew up drinking Lake Erie water and I never got sick. We don’t wear shoes in the house, we play the five-second rule (unless it’s really gross) and we are mostly well. I don’t understand people; it’s like the recyclable plastic bottles… just BUY a glass one (i love mine… it’s from lifefactory.com — not cheap but awesome) and wash it… ever hear of washing and reusing? It makes me crazy. Anyway… yes… paragraphs. Thank you!!! -Molly

  4. Well, I’m with you all the way, but I still am ready to point out that whether we encourage adaptation or not, there will still be new germs and bacteria. We will still get killed by the next, bigger stronger strain. That’s what nature does. All this chemical crap doesn’t help, but I don’t think it’s the bugaboo it’s made out to be. Nature is. We’re going to get a strain someday that makes us see straight before we die, mark my words.

    • I hear you and I agree, Kirstin, about that strain. We are stupid, dumb… just waiting to you know… move on. I appreciate your comments and coming by. Apparently there’s a class action lawsuit against SoftSoap for it’s claims… too late, my friends… too late. Thank you again. 🙂

  5. I serve a healthy does of dirt with every meal. I never use anitbacterial. I refuse to use/buy hand sanitizer. Hell I still subscribe to the 5 second rule… and don’t mop much 🙂 We don’t get sick much at all… Your ranting is like music to my ears…please continue 🙂

  6. This is why I let my daughter roll around and dirt and eat stuff off the floor (that and I am not quick enough to stop her). Germs are good for your immune system. It’s how you build one. Super germs? They can’t be stopped. Why are we so set on making them?

    • It’s the strangest thing I’ve ever thought about. I’ve been thinking about this post for awhile. I said about two weeks ago to myself, “if one more kid gets sick and has to go on an antibx, i’m going to lose my mind.” and so here we are.

      There’s a class-action lawsuit now against Colgate Palmolive for their bogus health claims. I am hopeful that everyone will get the sense slapped into them. Bath and Body Works is the WORST offender, as far as I’m concerned. We haven’t bought antibacsoaps in probably 12 years here.

      Germs will always win. They always do. There are more of them than us. I like it that way.

      I’m all for a 20-second rule around here.

  7. Good Lord now you’ve got me freaked out reading my soap ingredients (Softsoap). I don’t see Triclosan – is that the main culprit? I don’t consider myself a germophobe and stopped using an antibacterial kitchen counter cleaner a while back, not because I understood the science you describe here, but because it just freaked me out to have bleach by our food etc. So thanks for making me feel like that was a good decision. 🙂 I’m glad I read this!

    • As long as it doesn’t say “antibacterial” you’re OK. there are many different culprits, but triclosan seems to be the predominating one. there’s a class action law suit now (i just added it) against the makers of SoftSoap and other antibacsoap makers. I also added a list of brands that don’t have antibacs. … uh, “regular” soap: Ivory, Dove, Method, Tom’s of Maine, and a bunch of others. Even Colgate-Palmolive makes several soft-soaps: aloe, shea butter, milk & honey? and others. The worst of all: Bath & Body Works… they make you think smelling clean is clean. It’s not. Eat off the floor. Increase the 5-second rule to 10, you will live better for it!

      • I have no issues eating off the floor. I prefer it. My mother-in-law gave me a gift certificate to Bath & Body Works for Christmas. I hate that place just because I think it smells terrible, but now I know she was trying to kill me. Thank you again for the info.

  8. Yeah… I’m in total agreement. The more I learn about what’s in household items and our foods, the more I’m finding myself going back to basics. I buy natural home made soap and goos from a friend, I stopped using chemicals on my skin for acne (although I’m having a difficult time getting that to go away), and I watch what kind of food I buy. In this house, I’m clean but I don’t use all kinds of anti-bacterial stuff like the other inhabitants and I’m the one that gets sick the least. I barely get sick at all in fact. I’ve been observing one generation after another get more sick more frequently and coming down with diseases more readily despite the protection we’re promised by chemical manufacturers. I recently strolled into a Bath and Body Works looking for skin care and all I found were the same liquids with different colors and scents. I fear for the future generations of kids that are kept away from the world that will preserve their immune system.

    • Excellent points, Jen. I am also not too quick to treat a fever unless my child is in pain or discomfort. If we bring down a fever too fast, the body can’t burn up the virus. People are loopy.

      I abhor Bath and Body Works. They have no interest in public health. That’s a company I’d love to see burn in its alcohol inspired flames. Then they’d really be killing germs the old-fashioned way.

      Thanks for your comments. 🙂

  9. So true!! I have a friend who is obsessed with them and her and her family are always sick. You have to let your immune system function naturally. It scares me for what kind of bugs we will have for the future.

  10. Scared now of the future bugs. We are a family of six, where in the past 7 years some crazy bacteria (including MRSA) have gone through our family causing meningitis, sepsis (blood poisoning), and cellulitis landing us in the hospitals needing those last resort antibiotics via IV. Some of us are allergic to families of antibiotics to even include top of the line ones like vancomycin and clindamycin (along with a few other over-the-counter ones). If the next mutated superbug are here then we are gonna. There should be an post on the overuse of antibiotics causing resistant bugs.

    • That one is coming up, Anh. That requires more research than my hour of time an readily available content. I know the source material is there, I just need to cull it. I fear for families like yours. It’s a precarious balance. The world we live in isn’t meant to hurt us. You’re such a great mom, I know you do all you can to keep them safe and happy, the biggest immunity booster of all: a smile. Xo

  11. Pingback: Lessons from my freshman year of blogging | Banana Wheels

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