it’s the most germ filled time of the year! Well, that may not be entirely

accurate, but it flows nicely to the tune of “It’s the Most Wonderful

Time of the Year”; and germs are plentiful this time of year, so we took

a little poetic license. The point is that winter is here. A time spent

huddled together indoors spreading good cheer and germs of all sorts.


Being the good parents we are, we tell our children to cover their

coughs and sneezes. We teach them to aim for their inner elbow, but

we know many coughs and sneezes go into their hands …. or directly

into the air. And let’s face it, tissues aren’t always handy and those

noses need to be wiped somehow.


Now that you have those images in your mind, let’s talk about hand

washing. We tell our kids to wash their hands constantly and that is in

fact great advice. But what are our kids using to wash their hands?


It’s become common for most places to provide antibacterial soap.

Sounds great doesn’t it? A little rub-a-dub-dub with that magic formula

and all the bacteria gets washed away! Wait a minute. Not so fast!

Science doesn’t exactly back that up.


The active ingredient often found in antibacterial soaps and hand

sanitizers is called Triclosan. It was first used in 1972 by surgeons.

That same year, Congress instructed the Food and Drug Administration

(FDA) to establish guidelines for the use of antibacterials in soaps. As

of 2017, this quote is found on the FDA website: “FDA is undertaking a

review of active ingredients used in a variety of over-the-counter (OTC)

antiseptic rubs and wash products.”


In 1978 the FDA said Triclosan was “not generally recognized as safe

and effective.” Also, a 2011 study by E. M. Clayton found that children

who had greater amounts of Triclosan in their system were more likely

to suffer from asthma and allergies. This might be in response to

antibacterials killing both harmful and beneficial bacteria. The children’

s immune systems actually became weaker.


What’s a parent to do? Teach your children to wash their hands with

plain soap and water. It has been found to be just as effective as

antibacterials in killing harmful bacteria.


Helpful Tip:


If your child is asked to bring hand sanitizer to school, here is a recipe

to make a Triclosan-free version. Blend 3 drops of liquid grapefruit

seed extract (GSE) with each ounce of aloe vera gel. Place it in a

plastic dispenser.