Oversanitizing: Are you doing more harm?
Labels on cleaning products boast claims that they can kill the flu virus or eliminate 99.9% of germs. But some experts say a few germs might be a good thing and keeping a clean house could be what’s getting people sick.
Grace Maiwandi admits she’s become a little more conscious of her cleaning to keep her grandson from getting the flu. Maiwandi soaks his toys in water with a little bleach to kill the germs, but she says some cleaners do more harm than good.
“If you ever try and clean in a bathroom and you put Lysol, I mean the fumes will over power you,” she said.
Doctor Sean Lucas says the while chemical cleaners are effective, but they can cause quite a headache.
“We have lots of people come in because their asthma gets triggered by people disinfecting, cleaning too much,” said Dr. Lucas. “In work place environments, people who have reactions to perfumes, all sorts of scents, especially with cleaning agents.”
According to the hygiene hypothesis, American’s are cleaning themselves sick. Lucas says wiping away all the dirt and germs could actually cause an illness. “Yu don’t see them as much in these third world countries where they’re cohabitating with their livestock, they have animals in the house, they don’t use as many disinfectants and things that we use here in the United States.”
Leaving a bit of bacteria behind could actually be a good thing, especially for kids. Dr. Lucas said, “Definitely you need some sort of bacterial exposure to kind of tweak your immune system to mature it appropriately, but then certainly there’s overkill.”
Maiwanidi says she’ll choose her cleaners carefully, and always be prepared. “That’s why I always carry a little sanitizer in my purse and in my car just to prevent this flu from affecting him at all.”
Dr. Lucas says the best way to prevent the spread of germs is to wash your hands. While sometimes overwashing can cause irritation, simple soap and water should kill the harmful germs and keep you healthy.
Story summary image
More: continued here