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Why are people so afraid of germs

  1. Sep 5, 2004 #1
    What i swith all fo this kills 99.9 percent of germs why dont' people realize they have bacteria is everywhere and all of these products are bull. The only things those do is build up resistance to certain things. People need to get over their germophobia and accept what the real world is like. They should read gospel of the germs -- its a great read.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 5, 2004 #2
    Ok, the next time you have surgery please request that the Dr. doesn't scrub in and they use no sterile procedure.
     
  4. Sep 5, 2004 #3

    Monique

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    There are good germs and bad germs. If you've been working with raw chicken in the kitchen, I'd recommend a product that kills germs: you don't want to get a salmonella infection. In such an instance you need to use a good cleaning routine and make sure to wash your hands thoroughly before you move on to other things.

    On the other hand you're right, it's good for a kid to eat some dirt once in a while: it builds up their resistance. An over-clean environment has been linked to the development of asthma and irritable bowel disease (IBD). A new treatment for IBD is having patients eat worm-eggs. The worms will settle in the bowel and relieve symptoms.

    edit: there are soaps on the market that kill germs, I think those should not be used unless there is an increased risk of infection: when handling raw meat. We naturally have a population of germs living on us, they are a line of defense against bad germs. A good example comes with the use of antibiotics, one of the first side-effects of the use of antibiotics is diarrhea. The natural population of germs living in your bowel are killed off, this allows for germs you're not well tolerant to, to over-proliferate.
     
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2004
  5. Sep 5, 2004 #4

    Monique

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    Resistance is only an issue with the use of antibiotics: you don't want bacteria that remain unaffected by a medicine. A cleaning product that kills 99.9% of bacteria won't allow for any resistance to develop: all the bacteria are killed. The few that survive are still on the cutting board and will soon dry out so won't survive to infect anyone and proliferate.
     
  6. Sep 5, 2004 #5
    Girls have cooties. :P
     
  7. Sep 5, 2004 #6

    Monique

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    huh? googles.. http://66.102.9.104/search?q=cache:yX2hRGBlIqkJ:goknow.com/Products/Cooties/+cooties&hl=en&ie=UTF-8
     
  8. Sep 5, 2004 #7
  9. Sep 5, 2004 #8
    lol @ Monique!
     
  10. Sep 5, 2004 #9
    Sorry that post was a bit late and i said some things that didn't make sense, but in all honestly peoples perception of germs and what to do about them is greatly flawed. I suggest reading gospel of the germs-- has anyone here read it?
     
  11. Sep 5, 2004 #10
    I know what you mean. I agree with Monique about kids needing to get a little dirty. The immune system needs exposure to develop.

    When talking about germs and stuff, however, don't forget about parasites as well. We're learning about all the different ways you can catch stuff and how parasites are transmitted and all that, and it's some pretty nasty stuff. It makes me not want to leave my couch ;)
     
  12. Sep 5, 2004 #11
    I suggest you learn a bit about the disorder before making such comments about it. First, I'm a verminophobic, secondly, I studied it in Psychology class and you just can't "Get over it." There are tons of germophobics and it's probably one of the most inconvienient phobias out there.

    They don't have a problem with their own germs, they have a problem with your germs.

    Do you know how hard it would be for a kid with asthma and breathing problems to live in a dusty, stuffy and moldy enviroment?

    He should ask his Dentist to do them same!
     
  13. Sep 5, 2004 #12

    Moonbear

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    Okay, you have a good point. There is a difference between someone with a real phobia, which is a bona fide psychological disorder, and someone who is just falling for all the advertising of antibacterial products.

    That's after the asthma has developed. The studies Monique is talking about address the development of asthma in children who are raised in super-clean environments. I haven't read them, but have heard of them. Though, sometimes I wonder if it is the lack of dust and germs or the over-use of chemical cleaning agents that's screwing up their immune systems. Has anyone here read those studies? Do they know if chemicals in cleaning agents were ruled out as potential causative factors?

    Surgery and dental procedures are different from regular hand-washing because the surgeon/dentist is bypassing the first barrier of the immune system, the skin. I don't think he's talking about sterile surgery, but to all those products out for household and personal use. Hand soaps, body washes, detergents, cleansing wipes, etc. I'm all for using antibacterial/disinfectant products when you're washing your dishes and cleansing the bathroom, or after handling raw meats, but there are people who will disinfect their kids' hands every time they touch anything and don't let them put anything in their mouth that fell on the floor. I'd worry more about disinfectant residue on the toys after the parents have scrubbed them "clean." I don't like those hand-sanitizers for that reason too. They certainly leave some sort of chemical residue on your hands...most are scented, and the scent stays, so what does that mean I'm putting on my hands? The main active ingredient in most of those is alcohol, which is a good sanitizer, but then they add gels to keep the alcohol from drying your hands and to slow its evaporation enough to give it time to kill the germs. Someone should be studying the effects of all those residues on health, imho.
     
  14. Sep 5, 2004 #13
    Although I certainly don't agree with excessively washing your hands, which is a symptom of OCD and sometimes even verminophobia, it's good to keep those hands sanatized. I always read in my biology textbooks or hear some M.D. on the news telling us to wash our hands - especially during flu seasons.

    Not eating things that drop on the floor...is that really a bad thing?

    Do you mean Aloe Vera? I think that's the gel you're talking about that's added in soup to not dry out your hands:

    Source
     
  15. Sep 5, 2004 #14

    Moonbear

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    I think that's where there's some disagreement. People are told to wash hands, don't expose children to germs, etc. Certainly, when a particularly bad flu strain is going around, you want to be careful not to let your kids catch it because flu is dangerous for children, but there is another camp that argues children should be exposed to some other common germs, such as the cold virus, so they develop stronger immunity to these. But, like I mentioned above, I haven't looked into these articles personally, so don't know how much controversy there really is.

    With children, more like impossible to prevent. It's normal for infants and toddlers to put everything in their mouths, and if they are playing on the floor and their hands are going in their mouths, is there any difference about the toys going in their mouths too?

    Um, no, I'm referring to all the other additives.

    I have one of those little bottles of hand sanitizer here (I didn't say I refuse to use it, I keep a bottle with me when traveling...I figure whatever residue it leaves on my hands is probably better than what I might get on my hands in a public restroom that's out of soap).

    Straight from the bottle:
    Active ingredient: ethyl alcohol 62%
    Inactive ingredients: water, glycerin, isopropyl myristate, propylene glycol, tocopheryl acetate, aminoethyl propanol, carbomer, fragrance.

    It's always that last one that bugs me...fragrance...no details of what exactly the chemical composition of the fragrance is.

    The glycerin would be a good moisturizer, so the water and glycerin don't concern me. Tocopheryl acetate is vitamin E, so that's okay. Propylene glycol is fairly non-toxic, unless you decide to drink a lot of it for some reason (it's a food additive as well as a cosmetic additive).

    Here is some info on the other ingredients obtained from the household products database: http://householdproducts.nlm.nih.gov/index.htm

    I'm not even that worried about the skin contact so much as the small amounts that are ingested if you use these products to sanitize your hands then sit down and eat a burger or your kids then put their hands in their mouth as kids do. None of these is described as toxic at these low levels, but is anything known about chronic low level exposure? It seems the studies focus more on acute toxicity at high doses, like when the kid or dog drinks down a whole bottle and someone needs to know how to treat them.

    I'm don't mean to sound paranoid about these products, I'm really not, but I think it's worth considering the balance between their usefulness and potential harm. Are there any toxicologists here who can shed more light on these issues?
     
  16. Sep 5, 2004 #15
    The soup I use doesn't show the ingredients. It simply shows Aloe Vera is added to keep hands from drying out.

    As for hand sanitizers, I've never used them. I can't imagine why I would need to unless I'm working outdoors where no soup and water is around.

    Aren't there over 100 different types of cold viruses? You can't develop immunity to all of them.
     
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2004
  17. Sep 5, 2004 #16

    Monique

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    :blushing: :redface:
     
  18. Sep 10, 2004 #17
    If Tom is referring to the general public (as opposed to genuine sufferers like Dagenais) then you're really asking about the power of media persuasion and consumer ignorance. Companies like Lever Bros depend on people fearing Evil Germs in order to sell their product (okay obviously Lever has expanded operations somewhat but anyway). Special "anti-bacterial" soaps, detergents etc., if people don't know why they need them they won't buy them. Why do they need them? Because these companies spend a lot of money convincing them they do ;)
     
  19. Sep 10, 2004 #18

    iansmith

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    Here my 2 cents, people fear germ due to the ignorance. Germs are always associated with disease but people eat yogurth, bread and drink beer and wine. Some of these products have yeast and bacteria that are still alive. People should be educated about the microbiology of the body too. You got an extremely interresting ecology on the skin, in the nose and in the intestinal and genital tracts. For example, about 10% of the population carries the bacteria responsible for meningitides, and 33% carries staph aureus which is responsible for food born disease and both bacteria are in the nasal cavities. People should also be educated about the wasy to minimize the risk of infection. Soap is already anti-bacterial, there is not need to add special products. A 99.9% killing stats is only effective for about 1000 bacteria. Do the math for 10000 bacteria and you will see what I mean. I also saw people that were afraid of germ do irrespossible things such as using the same knive to cut raw chicken then used on cooked chicken without washing the knive.

    I agree with flying penguin, the compagny and the media just abuse their position on poorly educated people. When I see a newpaper talking about bacteria but calls the bacteria a virus, I die inside just bit. :biggrin:
     
  20. Sep 11, 2004 #19
    I haven't done immunology, but I'm sure that some antibodies produced by the body can attach to a wide range of viruses, but at a lower effectiveness. So, contracting one cold virus could give you an advantage when encountering another.
     
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