Idea of a germ

  • #1
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Main Question or Discussion Point

Would you recommend washing hands, not only often, but especially after using a Kleenex? Such concern, not usually considered, could save lives this flu season.
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
Evo
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During flu season it's wise to wash hands as often as possible, but don't get obsessed about it.
 
  • #3
I try to wash my hands before touching my face, eating, or performing any activity that could cause me to injest germs.

So, as often as you do thoes things I suggest you wash your hands. :-)
 
  • #4
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As much as I agree cleanliness is a good thing, you don't want to overdo it.

I think this over-clean society we're trying to create is causing more problems than it's solving.

Obviously, you need to maintain a certain level of cleanliness, but if you do as you describe ╔(σ_σ)╝, I think you're over doing it by quite a margin.
 
  • #5
lisab
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How timely!

The state I live in just released this public service announcement:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aOj3rku0lrA

I won't go into a rant about how this state is in the midst of a severe budget crisis and yet they're making stuff like that...I won't, I won't, I won't....
 
  • #6
As much as I agree cleanliness is a good thing, you don't want to overdo it.

I think this over-clean society we're trying to create is causing more problems than it's solving.

Obviously, you need to maintain a certain level of cleanliness, but if you do as you describe ╔(σ_σ)╝, I think you're over doing it by quite a margin.
What I should have said... I do so when I come in contact with surfaces that are used by a lot of people i.e the underground (subway).

I also make use of the free hand sanitisers provided at all corners of my school.
 
  • #7
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As much as I agree cleanliness is a good thing, you don't want to overdo it.
I think this over-clean society we're trying to create is causing more problems than it's solving.
Obviously, you need to maintain a certain level of cleanliness, but if you do as you describe ╔(σ_σ)╝, I think you're over doing it by quite a margin
Your post does not have any substance.

What problems? What's over-doing? What would you recommend?
 
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  • #8
Your posts does not have any substance.

What problems? What's over-doing? What would you recommend?
If you wash your hands every time you might ingest 'germs', you'd be washing an unhealthy amount for your skin at the very least. That seems like a substantive observation to me, and "over-cleaning" I assume refers to the problems with Triclosan. "Over-doing it" in a home-setting is considered problematic... I'd think you'd have googled that much at least before slamming someone.

edit: here's a bone: http://www.fda.gov/forconsumers/consumerupdates/ucm205999.htm

edit2: Here's a stick: http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/eid/vol7no3_supp/levy.htm
 
  • #9
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There are plenty of studies out there regarding people trying to be 'too clean'. There is plenty of substance behind what I'm saying, so let's cut the crap.

http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/eid/vol7no2/larson.htm
http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2009/nov/23/grubby-children-scientists-immune-system
http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2010-11/uom-sst112410.php

What is overdoing it? Well that comes down to the individual, but there are people who are now living in close to sterile home environments and have virtually no contact with 'dirt' as a child. Although in a perfect society where everywhere is clean that may not be a problem, at some point in your life you'll be in a situation where you are exposed to said 'dirt'.

I have no problem with basic cleaning (washing your hands after certain tasks, ensuring the kitchen/bathroom is clean etc) but at what point did there become a need (due to adverse effects) to use cleaners capable of 'killing 99.9% of all germs'? (Here's a hint, it never happened. We invented it as a way to sell products.)
 
  • #10
378
2
There are plenty of studies out there regarding people trying to be 'too clean'. There is plenty of substance behind what I'm saying, so let's cut the crap.

http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/eid/vol7no2/larson.htm
http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2009/nov/23/grubby-children-scientists-immune-system
http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2010-11/uom-sst112410.php

What is overdoing it? Well that comes down to the individual, but there are people who are now living in close to sterile home environments and have virtually no contact with 'dirt' as a child. Although in a perfect society where everywhere is clean that may not be a problem, at some point in your life you'll be in a situation where you are exposed to said 'dirt'.

I have no problem with basic cleaning (washing your hands after certain tasks, ensuring the kitchen/bathroom is clean etc) but at what point did there become a need (due to adverse effects) to use cleaners capable of 'killing 99.9% of all germs'? (Here's a hint, it never happened. We invented it as a way to sell products.)
http://www.cdc.gov/flu/protect/stopgerms.htm

Clean your hands.
Washing your hands often will help protect you from germs.
I am highlighting the word often.

* Before, during, and after preparing food
* Before eating food
* After using the toilet
* After changing diapers or cleaning up a child who has used the toilet
* Before and after caring for someone who is sick
* After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
* After touching an animal or animal waste
* After touching garbage
* Before and after treating a cut or wound
It does not mention after coming home from public places but I think that should also be in the list.
 
  • #11
http://www.cdc.gov/flu/protect/stopgerms.htm



I am highlighting the word often.



It does not mention after coming home from public places but I think that should also be in the list.
And from the CDC...

CDC Study said:
Presentation from the 2000 Emerging Infectious Diseases Conference in Atlanta, Georgia
Antibacterial Household Products: Cause for Concern

Stuart B. Levy
Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston, Massachusetts, USA

The recent entry of products containing antibacterial agents into healthy households has escalated from a few dozen products in the mid-1990s to more than 700 today. Antibacterial products were developed and have been successfully used to prevent transmission of disease-causing microorganisms among patients, particularly in hospitals. They are now being added to products used in healthy households, even though an added health benefit has not been demonstrated. Scientists are concerned that the antibacterial agents will select bacteria resistant to them and cross-resistant to antibiotics. Moreover, if they alter a person's microflora, they may negatively affect the normal maturation of the T helper cell response of the immune system to commensal flora antigens; this change could lead to a greater chance of allergies in children. As with antibiotics, prudent use of these products is urged. Their designated purpose is to protect vulnerable patients.

Antibiotics are critical to the treatment of bacterial infections. However, after years of overuse and misuse of these drugs, bacteria have developed antibiotic resistance, which has become a global health crisis (1, 2). The relatively recent increase of surface antibacterial agents or biocides into healthy households may contribute to the resistance problem.

The antibacterial substances added to diverse household cleaning products are similar to antibiotics in many ways. When used correctly, they inhibit bacterial growth. However, their purpose is not to cure disease but to prevent transmission of disease-causing microorganisms to noninfected persons. Like antibiotics, these products can select resistant strains and, therefore, overuse in the home can be expected to propagate resistant microbial variants (3-6). Moreover, these agents, like antibiotics, are not cure-alls but have a designated purpose. Whereas antibiotics are designed to treat bacterial (not viral) infections, antibacterial products protect vulnerable patients from infectious disease-causing organisms. Neither are demonstrably useful in the healthy household.
Proliferation of Antibacterial Products

Seven years ago, only a few dozen products containing antibacterial agents were being marketed for the home. Now more than 700 are available. The public is being bombarded with ads for cleansers, soaps, toothbrushes, dishwashing detergents, and hand lotions, all containing antibacterial agents. Likewise, we hear about "superbugs" and deadly viruses. Germs have become the buzzword for a danger people want to eliminate from their surroundings. In response to these messages, people are buying antibacterial products because they think these products offer health protection for them and their families. Among the newer products in the antibacterial craze are antibacterial window cleaner and antibacterial chopsticks. Antibacterial agents are now in plastic food storage containers in England. In Italy, antibacterial products are touted in public laundries. In the Boston area, you can purchase a mattress completely impregnated with an antibacterial agent. Whole bathrooms and bedrooms can be outfitted with products containing triclosan (a common antibacterial agent), including pillows, sheets, towels, and slippers.
Development of Resistance

Bacteria are not about to succumb to this deluge, however. Through mutation, some of their progeny emerge with resistance to the antibacterial agent aimed at it, and possibly to other antimicrobial agents as well (4). Laboratory-derived mutants of Pseudomonas stutzeri with resistance to the cationic biocide chlorhexidine were also cross-resistant to antibiotics (nalidixic acid, erythromycin, and ampicillin) (7). In a recent study, 7% of Listeria monocytogenes strains isolated from the environment and food products showed resistance to quaternary ammonium compounds (8).

Laura McMurry in my laboratory group conducted experiments to determine whether triclosan had a particular cellular site for its antibacterial activity. She used a classic genetic technique, the isolation of resistant mutants of Escherichia coli, to identify its possible target. Surprisingly, finding the cellular site proved easy. In fact, mutants appeared with low, medium, and high-level resistance (3). They all had a mutation in one gene, the fabI gene (3) (Table 1). This finding indicated that triclosan had a target for the enoyl reductase essential in fatty acid biosynthesis. In the presence of triclosan or a know fabI inhibitor (diazoborine) fatty acid biosynthesis was inhibited, whereas the antibiotics chloramphenicol or ciprofloxacin with other targets had little effect on fatty acid biosynthesis (Table 2). In comparison with the wild-type E. coli, the mutant required up to 100 times more triclosan to show even minimal inhibition of fatty acid biosynthesis (3).
http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/eid/vol7no3_supp/levy.htm

It's clearly a matter of weighing pros and cons, and despite your view, washing hands after being in public isn't on the list because it isn't worth the cons. If you've made it home without touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with your hands then it's overwhelmingly likely that any trace germs are inert.

I'd add: if you're close enough to get a handful of something virulent, you're MORE than close enough to be getting a face-full of it.

edit: I'd add that this was about a decade ago... the view hasn't changed.
 
  • #12
dlgoff
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I try to wash my hands before touching my face, eating, or performing any activity that could cause me to injest germs.

So, as often as you do thoes things I suggest you wash your hands. :-)
What about your feet? :devil:

Sorry. I couldn't resist.
 
  • #13
lisab
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I've heard warnings all my life about touching your face - especially your eyes - with unclean hands. It's an effective way to get flu, if the virus is on your hands.

But what about ingesting flu virus? Are you as likely to get sick if you eat food with flu virus on it?
 
  • #14
What about your feet? :devil:

Sorry. I couldn't resist.
:rofl:

Touchè
 
  • #15
2,685
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1 Before, during, and after preparing food
2 Before eating food
3 After using the toilet
4 After changing diapers or cleaning up a child who has used the toilet
5 Before and after caring for someone who is sick
6 After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
7 After touching an animal or animal waste
8 After touching garbage
9 Before and after treating a cut or wound
I've numbered them as you can group them together. There's no need for the list to be so long, I believe it's only like that to highlight individual matters specifically.

1 and 2
3 and 4
5, 6 and 9
7
8

So to me, the list is only 5 items long and I think they are all fair reasons to wash your hands. Nothing excessive there.
If I further analyse which of those apply to me, the list would come down to only relating to using the toilet and preparing food on a daily basis. The rest are weekly if not more. The list in itself isn't an indication of how often each occurs, but when it should occur. So I don't see how that relates to "often". As I previously mentioned, this is more down to the individual.

Regardless, 'too much' to me is when you do something more than required. The point at which this occurs is when the cleaning provides no additional benefits. For example, my mother vacuums the whole house every day, despite there only being two people there, not using more than half of the rooms. The rooms used don't have enough dirt build up to warrant this daily cleaning, let alone the rooms not used. So performing this daily clean is worthless and only serves to satisfy her need to clean.
 
  • #16
I've heard warnings all my life about touching your face - especially your eyes - with unclean hands. It's an effective way to get flu, if the virus is on your hands.

But what about ingesting flu virus? Are you as likely to get sick if you eat food with flu virus on it?
The risk is LEAST (not 0) for any virus being ingested; stomach acid WILL destroy them. Influenza needs a mucous membrane... preferably something "lungy". Again, if you're eating viable influenza on food... you probably already have been exposed more directly.

The risk of getting the flu through your eyes... is MINUSCULE... remember, one virus in the body doesn't = infection. Your immune system needs to be initially overwhelmed, and it takes SOME seed stock. Nose and inhalation are the main issue, and of course if someone coughs on a roll, and then you eat it... then inhale...

Still, what are you going to do, wear biochem gear? :wink: It's fair to carry a little alcohol or benzyl-group (usually chloride salts) disinfectant if someone is concerned about excessive contact.

Unfortunately, the best defense against influenza is to get vaccinated, and avoid people showing frank symptoms... there is no pattern of living (except hermetically) which ensures a life free of contagion. I mean (and again, this is not directed at you Lisab, or anyone in particular), we COULD walk through UV "baths" on a regular basis... there are more compelling reasons to avoid that however.
 
  • #17
lisab
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The risk is LEAST (not 0) for any virus being ingested; stomach acid WILL destroy them. Influenza needs a mucous membrane... preferably something "lungy". Again, if you're eating viable influenza on food... you probably already have been exposed more directly.

The risk of getting the flu through your eyes... is MINUSCULE... remember, one virus in the body doesn't = infection. Your immune system needs to be initially overwhelmed, and it takes SOME seed stock. Nose and inhalation are the main issue, and of course if someone coughs on a roll, and then you eat it... then inhale...

Still, what are you going to do, wear biochem gear? :wink: It's fair to carry a little alcohol or benzyl-group (usually chloride salts) disinfectant if someone is concerned about excessive contact.

Unfortunately, the best defense against influenza is to get vaccinated, and avoid people showing frank symptoms... there is no pattern of living (except hermetically) which ensures a life free of contagion. I mean (and again, this is not directed at you Lisab, or anyone in particular), we COULD walk through UV "baths" on a regular basis... there are more compelling reasons to avoid that however.
Thanks, nismar!

Vaccines are the best answer, no doubt about it. I've never had flu *knocks on wood* but I've been around people who have, and it looks like no fun. I don't have time to be sick for ~10 days! So I get the shot.

This year the shots give triple protection (3 strains, including H1N1) - what a deal!
 
  • #18
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This year the shots give triple protection (3 strains, including H1N1) - what a deal!
If you can get it. A lot of problems in the UK regarding flu shots this year.
 
  • #19
Thanks, nismar!

Vaccines are the best answer, no doubt about it. I've never had flu *knocks on wood* but I've been around people who have, and it looks like no fun. I don't have time to be sick for ~10 days! So I get the shot.

This year the shots give triple protection (3 strains, including H1N1) - what a deal!
Ahhh, that's the new TIV? The... confused... nurse who administered my shot mixed things up and gave me the new QIV, Fluzone. :rolleyes: First time in my life that at least ONE of my triceps bulged.
 
  • #20
180
1
Heinlein, on germs

"Every germ that ever bit me died."

Yes, wash our hands. It makes sense. Kills most of them, anyway, and possibly most of the worst.

But not all. The rest we have simply have to fight off ourselves.
 
  • #21


"Every germ that ever bit me died."

Yes, wash our hands. It makes sense. Kills most of them, anyway, and possibly most of the worst.

But not all. The rest we have simply have to fight off ourselves.
re bold: You've GOT IT! Most of hand-washing is about removing fecal matter that you may have come into casual contact with, even on surfaces, which can contain corona and other viruses for a shockingly long time. You also essentially eliminate the risk of fecal-oral contamination that can lead to Hepatitis (not strain C), and other nasties.

In short, hand-washing is part of an overall program of awareness and caution that GREATLY reduces the chance of infection due to what we consider "third world" diseases. As a social phenomena, like vaccinations it adds protection not JUST for ourselves, but for others; hand-washing is sold to the individual, but has a lot to do with PUBLIC health.

It's just that after you take those precautions in the manner the CDC describes, you're already covered the dramatic portion of the asymptotic risk-curve; washing your hands a dozen more times is just creeping along the remaining curvature. As it has been pointed out by jarednjames, and myself... there is a DOWNSIDE that is ALSO asymptotic.

If you wash your hands excessively you RAISE your risk contracting illness and especially local infection. Dry, chaffed, and/or cracked skin is COMPROMISED in a way that a dirty hand could never be *unless you suck on it before washing later*. People who fixate on one, or the most obvious elements of hygiene, also tend to miss those elements not part of their fixation, and compromise their safety again. This is assuming you use a bar of "ye olde soap", and not something with Triclosan, or Benzalkonium Chloride (the latter is effective... lets keep it that way!), which leads to resistance, and in the case of the former, possible adverse effects of a serious nature.
 
  • #22
alt
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I try to wash my hands before touching my face, eating, or performing any activity that could cause me to injest germs.

So, as often as you do thoes things I suggest you wash your hands. :-)
It would seem to me though, that minimising the 'bad' stuff that goes in, would eventually compromise your immune system, and minimise your resistance to them when they do, one way or another, find a way in.

There was a report in our press recently, that kids that play in the dirt, and aren't too fussy about their cleansiness, are healthier, have better immune systems than the alternative. I'll look around and see if I can find that report - it was most interesting.
 
  • #23
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I agree alt.

I don't see how you could shield your child from all possible dirt and expect their immune system to be as strong as someone who hasn't been confined to such a sterile environment.

Take Chicken Pox. It's something you really want as a child on the basis that it rarely returns (and it's not as good for an adult). It's a good example of a case where giving your immune system a chance by allowing exposure is a good thing.

EDIT:
Before I get accused of lack of substance again -
http://www.guide-health.com/life/infant-environment-negative.html
http://www.sciencemagnews.com/antibacterial-soaps-being-too-clean-can-make-people-sick-study-suggests.html [Broken]
 
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