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Q. With the kids going back to school, should I be using an antibacterial soap to keep the germs away?
A. There are many brands of antibacterial soaps out there and their use is becoming as widespread as that of common soap.
People use antibacterial soaps in the hopes that they are helping to reduce the spread of germs but unfortunately there is no scientific data to support that they are any more effective than the use of regular soap and water. In fact, their use is swiftly becoming very controversial.
In the United States, antibacterial soaps and washes that contain triclosan and triclocarbon (which are the most commonly used ingredients amongst these types of soaps) will no longer be allowed to be marketed. This comes after a recent study showed a decrease in thyroid hormone levels after exposure to high doses of triclosan.
Your thyroid hormone is considered the ultimate regulator within your body. It is intimately involved with many functions including your metabolic rate, your temperature, your cardiovascular system and your emotional state of mind. Hence alterations in its levels can have major effects on your well being.
Triclosan is also the same ingredient that has previously been linked to the possibility of increasing the resistance of bacteria to our various antibiotics. In Canada, a study done in 2012 showed that triclosan found in waste water can interfere with plant and animal growth and reproduction in lakes and streams.
When all these concerns regarding the unwanted and damaging effects of these antibacterial cleansers are coupled together with the lack of evidence that they actually work any better at preventing infections, there is no role for these products in most households (they are however still essential in a health care setting).
In fact, it is important to point out that it is the technique involved in the washing process itself that helps ward off unwanted germs from our hands rather than the ingredients involved.
As such, a quick reminder of the steps for proper hand washing seems in order.
There are times when soap and/or
running water are not readily available. In these situations, using
an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol can be
beneficial. Keep in mind that it will reduce the germ population on
your hands but will not eliminate them.
For more information on this or any
other health related topic, contact the pharmacists at Gordon
Pharmasave, Your Health and Wellness Destination in Kincardine and
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Friday, September 09, 2016