Antibacterial Products: What You Need to Know

Antibiotics and their effect on our environment.

'Tis the season for antibacterial use and resistance. 

How many of you have washed your hands with an antibacterial soap or applied a disinfectant gel or lotion? 

Studies have shown that using antibacterial products are not any more effective than soap and water. People who used antibacterial soap did have fewer bacteria on their hands, but only if they washed for 30 seconds, 18 times a day, for five days straight. The antibiotics, Triclosan and Triclocarban, are present in most antibacterial products.

The problem with these is that we have overused them and they have been found in our groundwater supplies. Since they have become ubiquitous in our environment, there is the possibility that we could develop "super bugs"; bacteria that are resistant to the arsenal of antibiotics known to mankind. These products were manufactured as antibacterial but not antiviral. For most people, the illnesses that the average person encounters are viral including influenza, the common cold and most gastrointestinal infections which are all caused by a virus. Viral infections are not treatable with antibiotics. 

Cleaners also have these antibiotics in them, but the problem is that they 'kill' the good bacteria as well as the bad. When reading labels, pay special attention to these ingredients: chlorine, lye, glycol ethers, and ammonia. If you want to avoid the antibiotics and to make your own disinfectant, see the following recipe:

1 teaspoon borax
2 tablespoons white vinegar
2 cups hot water
1/4 teaspoon lavender essential oil
3 drops tea tree essential oil 

Finally, next time you wash your hands, clean your kitchen or your bathroom, take care to review the cleaners that you normally use. And, consider your options to make 'natural' or 'green' cleaning products or use plain soap and water.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.


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