They are everywhere, on the wall, in the bathroom, in the diaper bag, at the grocery store. Hand sanitizers have become common place in our society today. Would you ever think about drinking them? WHAT! Drinking it! Yuck that has got to be nasty, right?
Kids are drinking hand sanitizer to get high, since the alcohol content is at least 67%, some higher, and it is very readily accessible to them.
Hand sanitizers, once only found among true germophobes and in hospitals, have become ubiquitous. They’re present at the supermarket, the gym, in daycare centers, and you probably have at least one bottle rolling around in your car or in the bottom of your purse or backpack.
During the flu epidemic scare of 2010/2011, hand sanitizer use jumped dramatically as healthcare professionals warned us that the only way to keep from getting deathly ill was to strip our hands of the viral microbes that constantly hitch rides on them. When scientists told us potentially deadly bacteria are all over virtually everything we touch, we became paranoid about germs. Hand sanitizers seem like an easy way to mitigate the risk of…well…being a resident of Earth.
But hand sanitizers, like most things in life, have a dark side. Yes, it’s important to practice good hygiene, especially on the hands, if you want to stay healthy. But a hand sanitizer isn’t always the best way to do so, especially if you aren’t using it right. Here are 5 reasons why you might want to consider using it less.
1. Your skin needs its oils
Most hand sanitizers contain a high concentration of alcohol, which removes the layer of natural oils from your skin. However, the skin on your hands is relatively thin and delicate, and needs those oils to stay healthy. The more you use hand sanitizer, the more moisture you strip from your skin, leaving it red, raw, chapped, and eventually bleeding. And, without proper moisture, your hands—one of the first areas to show aging—will also look much older, much sooner.
2. Your immune system needs its exercise
Like body builders who maintain their muscled physiques by working them at the gym every day, our immune systems stay strong by constantly doing battle against unfamiliar microbes. When we remove bacteria and other microbes from our lives, it can weaken our immune systems. This is especially true for babies and young children. Our worry that exposure will hurt them actually deprives them of developing a hearty immune system, which could make them sicker down the road. We don’t suggest that you should purposely expose your children to harmful bacteria, but too much caution the other way can backfire.
3. They don’t replace soap and water
The Food and Drug Administration recommends that hand sanitizers not be used in place of soap and water, but as a backup. Dirt, grime, blood, and other body fluids present on the hands can block the effective ingredient in hand sanitizers. When the hands are visibly dirty, soap and water must be used to wash them first. Plus, studies indicate that, in real life on actual human hands (as opposed to controlled surfaces used by manufacturers to test their 99.9 percent kill claims), washing with soap and water does a better job of cleaning the hands.
In fact, one researcher at Perdue University claims that, by stripping the oils from our hands that prevent bacteria present in the body from coming to the surface, using hand sanitizer can actually increase the presence of bacteria on the hands in a way that soap and water washing doesn’t.
4. False sense of security
Manufacturer’s claims that hand sanitizers kill 99.9% of bacteria combined with not using them properly can lead us into a false sense of security about our exposure to harmful substances. Alcohol-based sanitizers, for example, have been shown to be ineffective against rabies and norovirus. Hand sanitizers containing less than 60% alcohol—and they are out there—are just plain ineffective. And if you don’t use enough to cover your entire hands and stay wet for at least 15 seconds, you might as well have not used it at all.
5. Toxins in your system
Many hand sanitizers claim to be antibacterial, which means they contain a chemical called triclosan, a hormone disrupter. In a 2003-2004 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, three-quarters of participants had concentrations of triclosan in their urine. While not all sanitizers contain triclosan, most do contain parabens, propylene glycol, and synthetic fragrances, all substances known to affect the systems and organs in the body. Those chemicals aren’t particularly good to add to the ecosystem, either.
Despite its dark side, hand sanitizer can be an important and useful tool in fighting disease. Used properly, and only when absolutely necessary when lacking hand-washing facilities, it can help you stay healthy. But if you are a too frequent user, you may be doing yourself and your family more harm than good.
info credit : Naked health online
Stay tuned tomorrow for part 2 (Drinking hand sanitizer sends teens to hospitals)