A recent announcement from the Food and Drug Administration should give us all reason to pause as we enter the cold and flu season. The FDA says it can find no evidence that antibacterial chemicals used in liquid soaps actually help prevent the spread of germs.
More disturbing, government researchers say the use of such products may actually help breed drug-resistant bacteria. Yikes!
Antibacterial soap has become a mainstay in many homes and businesses, with the idea the soap will help protect against a number of pesky germs. Now, the FDA will require manufacturers to prove their antibacterial soaps are safe and more effective than the plain soap and water that mothers have been telling their children to use for generations.
To do the job right, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that you wash your hands — with soap and warm water — for 15 to 20 seconds.
In recent years, some people have turned to alcohol-based disposable hand wipes or gel sanitizers. These products, however, are not a sure-fire alternative to soap and water. Researchers at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Mountain Home, have found that some sanitizers lack the alcohol concentration necessary to kill most harmful bacteria and viruses.
That’s why it’s best to stick to the old tried and true — a bar of soap and warm water. Mom still knows best.