In recent weeks the news has bombarded us with information about MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus), or more commonly reported as "The Super Bug". We've read reports that kids are dying from this deadly bacterial infection, while others have reported MRSA has been around for years, and we're simply overreacting.
It is absolutley true: MRSA has been around for years. But only in recent years have we provided an endless breeding ground and fuel source for this bug to gain strength. We've become a disinfecting-crazed society that's made hand sanitizer a household staple. Take a look around your home, school or office - you'll see antibacterial soaps, cleaners, wipes and sprays galore! Oh and let's not forget the antibiotics. We have more children taking multiple rounds of antibiotics than ever before.
Unfortunately all these factors combine to add fuel to the MRSA fire. In my opinion, there is much reason for concern. Although this dangerous staph infection is old, it is being provided an entirely new environment on which to thrive. The very things we think we're using to fight infection with, could actually be making us more susesptible in the long run.
It is my opinion that getting back to basics is our best defense. Let's try washing our hands often with good old soap and warm water. We should all keep ourselves and our children clean and moisturized. Keeping skin moisturized, especially in the winter months, prevents skin from cracking and being more vulnerable to infection. Alas the hand sanitizers - yes they kill bacteria, but most contain so much alcohol, the result is dried, cracked skin.
We not only have to keep ourselves clean, but our homes and schools as well. By all means, clean your house...but clean it, don't disinfect at every dirt sighting. Disinfectants are being used far too often everywhere. Disinfectants not only provide the possibility of creating stronger, more resistant strains of bacteria (just as antibiotics have created a huge MRSA problem in hospitals), but most disinfectants contain REALLY harmful chemical ingredients and pesticides. Yes, lysol disinfectant is potentially really harmful, especially to children. The chemicals found in many household cleaners and disinfectants are now being linked by researchers to some of our most serious health concerns.
Thirty years ago the 3 major childhood illnesses were chickenpox, measles and mumps. Now it is asthma, ADD and cancer. We have to use our heads here. In years past we didn't have all the super, fast acting, disinfecting cleaners. We didn't have all the harmful chemicals in our cleaners and cosmetics. We didn't have thousands of antibiotics to choose from. There is one more thing we didn't have. We didn't have the MRSA problem that we are faced with today.