I am thinking seriously about buying enough anti-bacterial soap to wash down the entire inside and outside of my house. I could then start a business that would roam the country disinfecting every home in America. I might end up a multi-millionaire and a hero in the eyes of all those who fear becoming infected by anything or anyone.
In the last twenty years or so, we have become almost fanatical about dirt, or any surfaces that might have become contaminated by human touch. We’ve been alerted to the possibility of an epidemic of bird virus, swine flu and hantivirus and more. The latest is the Ebola virus which has taken over the air waves.
Am I being cavalier about what could become deadly plagues? Yes and no! Part of me is grateful that there are scientists that can alert us to engaging in precautions, but I also find that some people have become obsessed with cleanliness to the point of the ridiculous. I have been witness to individuals who act as if their preparing to do surgery. They whip out their Purell and diligently scrub everything in sight. The ultimate irony is that Purell is mostly alcohol . Research has shown that washing your hands with soap and water is far superior. But I do understand that there are certain circumstances where soap and water are not available.
There are hundreds of products on the market containing substances which could actually be more problematic then the disease it is purported to prevent. An ingredient called tricolsan has been shown to be an endocrine disrupter and to lower immune function. Our ability to fight off infections is also being lowered by the overuse of antibiotics. The direct result is that our bodies are not able to cope with germs that are continually being scrubbed off by over zealous fanatics.
When did we become so worried about germs and dirt? I was told to take a bath every couple of days, and that I had to wash my hands before I ate. I grew up watching people hug each other and we all shook hands with strangers. I caught my grandmother picking up some food that fell on the floor and wiping it on her apron. Then she popped it into her mouth. She lived to be ninety four. I played with dirt, walked barefoot in the yard, and often fell off my bike ending up with scrapes and bruises that were often left unattended to until I got home. Maybe I was just lucky.
Well, if you haven’t heard the latest, handshaking is the new demon of possible contamination. It is supposed to be best to simply fist bump, bow or wave. If you’re really worried, it might be a good idea to just make a sign that says “don’t touch” and wear it every where you go!
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