Let Kids Get Their Hands Dirty—To A Point.
September 29, 2015 MASS 0
Big Jay’s Big M.A.S.S. Blog Exclusive for M.A.S.S. By BIG JAY SORENSEN Vol. 1, No. 5
Hiya! And welcome back. We’ve all have heard someone in our family (usually grand-mothers) saying, “Oh, let the kids play in the dirt; it’s good for them.” There may be some fact to that statement, as it’s been shown that children build up their immune systems by being subjected to certain bacteria, viruses and parasites. Just writing those words make my skin crawl, as it likely did yours—but science seems to back up the premise.
If a child lives in an environment that is too clean, they can’t build up that resistance so essential to sustain human life. It’s a war out there; and sometime those bad guys win.
Bacteria, viruses and parasites not only reside on our skin surface, they are inside us as well. It’s up to us to fend them off; yet to understand that some bacteria are good. Just look at all of probiotic products flooding the market for our guts.
But as we know, bad bacteria in some circumstances can be potentially deadly to humans. I know. See my first blog on this site. http://momsadvocatingss.com/mrsa-nearly-killed-me-seven-times-in- hospitals/
It happened to me; and anyone with a compromised immune system is at risk, sometimes due to inadequate hand washing or sanitizing when soap and water are not available. Thankfully, I survived.
Alcohol-based hand sanitizers are not the right way to clean hands when you can’t wash them sufficiently. Why? Because as you can learn from reading other articles on this site, alcohol-based hand sanitizers’ active ingredient has many scientifically acknowledged downsides.
I’m not a scientist or doctor; but from all that I have learned, alcohol or ethanol does indeed kill a wide spectrum of bacteria. However the devil is in the details; as alcohol-based hand sanitizers can be the basis for skin irritation, and can crack your skin—causing bacteria that would normally be killed—to linger in those microscopic crevices.
Add to that, if used for a long period of time, the effectiveness can corrupt its antimicrobial effectiveness. Given that information, the U.S. FDA (Food & Drug Administration) has not yet rendered a final rule governing the composition of hand-sanitizers in the U.S.A. They have given what’s called a TFM or Tentative Final Monograph for topical antiseptic drug products.
Presently, there are only two active ingredients that fall under the “safe and effective” grouping; alcohol and Benzalkonium Chloride (BAC) which has been used in hundreds or even thousands of products like mouthwash, nasal sprays and eye drops for over a half-century.
And products with BAC as the active ingredient aren’t flammable like alcohol-based products are. There are several other alcohol-free formulations that have been approved by the FDA. I would choose one of those over any alcohol-based hand sanitizing product. Beware however; as Triclosan (found in some soap products) has been known to cause allergic reactions in some humans. And overuse can dry skin and cause the same effect as alcohol-based sanitizing. So, go ahead and let your kids play in the dirt.
The potential long-term benefits seem to outweigh the dangers. But make sure those cute little hands get cleaned properly, and please don’t let your kids come in contact with an alcohol-based sanitizer. The point of all of this is that ethanol or alcohol used in hand sanitizing manufactured goods doesn’t make a whole lot of sense when you know the facts. Feel free to send me your stories about what YOU observe when it comes to cleanliness, or any issue related to illnesses relating to lack of clean hands.
Send your notes to BigJaySorensenMASS@gmail.com. And please begin thinking about helping Moms Advocating Safe Sanitizers in other ways.
I’ll share more thoughts about that in upcoming blogs.
I thank you and BE BIG!
Big Jay Sorensen