You needn’t be scared of getting your hands dirty. Truthfully, our hands don’t have to be hospital clean all the time.
I recall when Purell came out in the mid-nineties claiming to “kill ‘99.99%’ of most common germs that may cause illness in as little as 15 seconds.” Mostly, it gave us shortcut. No longer did we have to take that painful 6 yard stroll to the sink. We could now reach into our pockets and pull it out (sanitize your mind; I’m talking about the bottle). Humans love the easy way. As a nation, we are addicted to the stuff. There are wipes at supermarkets, stations at work and opportunities to purchase bottles at every check out station everywhere. Why? From Time magazine:
Over the past couple of decades, consumer-products companies have found a target rich market in exploiting this history of germ aversion. They have launched wave after wave of microbe-seeking toilet-bowl cleaners, dish detergents, mouthwashes and, no doubt, floor polishes.
Right, money. It’s the answer to every similar question.
As we often talk about in this blog, shortcuts are often fool’s gold, and, in this case, a particularly harmful one. From the same Time article:
According a recent World Health Organization report, our obsession with germ killing has resulted in antibiotic-resistant bacteria in every corner of the globe, thanks in part to our willy-nilly use of wide-spectrum antibiotics and, yes, our love of hand sanitizer.
Your body needs exposure to germs to adequately protect itself. From CNN:
Keeping things clean is smart, but going crazy using antibacterial hand soaps, buying antibacterial kids’ toys and other products and overusing antibiotic medications is actually killing off the microbes that can help strengthen the immune system.
Because we’re obsessively killing off insignificant germs, we’ve managed to simultaneously hurt our immune system and contribute to the proliferation of really nasty germs, even if you’re only using alcohol based sanitizers. Not to worry, there is a solution. Wash your hands. Then use hand sanitizer. Then wash the sanitizer off your hands. Perfect. You’re ready to eat.
Sure, if you’re working in your garden with fertilizer or doing something particularly unsanitary, clean your mitts however you see fit. However, dirt don’t hurt. If you want to have a wash, grab a bar of soap (or not), damn it. From the CDC:
Washing hands prevents illnesses and spread of infections to others. Handwashing with soap removes germs from hands.
Simplicity is beautiful,