The Risks of Sanitizing

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The Risks of SanitizingBy Kay Leaman, HealthyDay HealthyLife

While looking at the overuse of antibiotics, I came across some information that bares our attention.

Antibiotics are used to treat bacterial infections and have been successful in treating these illnesses. However, because antibiotics are not bacteria specific, they kill the good bacteria along with the bad.

Most of us know that we need to maintain a healthy gut microbiome in order to keep our immune system strong. (The majority of our immune system is located in the gut.) Put the two together and you have a gut void of bacteria after using antibiotics which makes our bodies more susceptible to bacteria and viruses to attack.

Enter anti-bacterial soaps, hand sanitizers, sprays, etc. These products are also not bacteria specific and kill the good and the bad, thereby weakening our body’s defenses. But unlike antibiotics, there are additional dangers.

The FDA warns that symptoms such as headaches, nausea and dizziness can occur after applying alcohol-based sanitizers to the skin. Vapors can be inhaled and the alcohol is absorbed into the skin. Repeated use can result in skin becoming dry, flaky and sensitive to touch. Dry skin actually increases our chances of picking up germs.

Some sanitizers contain Triclasan which is intended to kill bacteria and has been used in products from toothpaste to body wash (Seriously!). High exposures can disrupt natural hormone cycles and even impact fertility. Triclasan has been banned from several types of products.

The CDC notes the risks in children. Younger children (under 12) are more susceptible to adverse effects, because their livers lack the adult amounts of glycogen. Between these products being scented and kids being kids, their tendency is to sniff and/or put their hand in their mouths.

Doctors warn about the risks well: Eczema, skin irritation, formulations that affect fertility, resistance to antibiotics, hormone problems, immune system issues, impact on body development, contracting a skin disorder and alcohol poisoning.

Lastly, disinfecting or sanitizing counters and cutting boards land in this category. These products don’t dissipate and can end up on your hands and in your food.

Washing our hands with soap and water, cleaning counters with a clean cloth (you can use water with a touch of vinegar), and focusing on keeping our immune system healthy is a great routine for health.

Christmas is approaching which means emotions from stress to joy to sadness and everything in between can manifest. Being grateful and finding something good about every person we come in contact with can do wonders for our health. Share a smile wherever you go and enjoy some days in sweats and slippers.

Keep your eyes out for the January issue. I’ll be hosting a Reset Challenge in January to kick those sugar cravings acquired over the holidays plus more education and tips. If there is a topic you’d like to know about, email me at
Have a blessed, joy filled Christmas season filled with laughter and love. To your health and pumpkin pie!

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