I have steadfastly refused to use hand sanitizers like Purell, insisting they take away good bacteria as well as bad and end up making germs more resilient. Today’s Post article would say I am right.
My first encounter with Purell-mania was when we went on a cruise soon after the swine flu outbreak. There were Purell dispensers every 100 feet on that ship and people were practically bathing in it in the hope of remaining germ-free.
I recently saw a young mother line up her 3 children upon entering a local store to clean their little hands. People have bought into this on a large scale, undoubtedly boosting the price of shares in the companies that make this stuff.
But there on the front page of today’s Post is an article “Good bugs may be key to staying healthy.” It turns out a lot of things -- bacteria, viruses, fungi, and other microorganisms -- live on our skin with only one in 10 cells being human. All these things work together to maintain a healthy balance in our body’s function.
Scientists are becoming convinced that when we interfere with that balance by things like diet, antibiotics, and obsession with cleanliness, we run the risk opening the door to all sorts of things we don’t want -- like allergies, obesity, asthma, diabetes, cancer, autoimmune diseases, and even autism.
Think twice before squirting Purell onto your hands or taking unnecessary antibiotics. You could be asking for trouble!