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Maintaining Health & Hygiene with Antibacterial Products is Common Sense!

The nostalgic image of the “good old days” is probably a fantasy when it comes to human health.  Not only is it difficult to pinpoint a specific time frame when the “good old days” occurred, but in all probability, they never existed!  Historical facts describe an endless struggle with devastating epidemics and unsanitary conditions leading to disease, particularly infant mortality and the early death of young adults.  This situation prevailed in Western Europe and the U.S. until the beginning of the “health revolution” in the late 18th and early 19th centuries.

A substantial but overlooked component of the health revolution was a socio-cultural transformation in personal hygiene and cleanliness.  The quarter-century 1890 to 1915, in particular, was the beginning of a mass change in bathing, laundering, and domestic hygiene practice in the United States and England.  These behavioral changes were probably a major factor in the control of significant sickness and death.  A basic hypothesis is that personal hygiene and domestic cleanliness — including bathing, showering, laundering, dishwashing, and housecleaning — played an essential but subtle and generally ignored role in the revolution.

Today, the health revolution continues in the form of personal hygiene.  One important disease-prevention strategy that has advanced tremendously is the development and commercialization of topical antibacterial hand wash products.  Indeed, antibacterial hand wash products, which kill or control the growth of harmful germs that may cause illness and disease more effectively than plain soap and water, are essential for maintaining and promoting good health.  Even in our contemporary society, good hand hygiene practices still continue to be the primary disease-prevention strategy for maintaining public health.

FightGermsNow.com provides information on the benefits of antibacterial hand washing, their effect on germs and how their transmission can be controlled by proper personal hygiene. This information offers a framework for developing practical strategies to manage risk from infections.

Through the combined benefits of improved food and water quality and home and personal cleaning practices, such as washing with antibacterial soap products, the hygienic quality of our environment dramatically reduces routine exposures to pathogenic (i.e., harmful) microorganisms. This reduction in pathogen exposure results in dramatic reductions in infectious diseases and premature death.

As is the case with most societal breakthroughs, many people in developed countries have grown to accept reduced rates of illness as the norm, and outbreaks that once would have been accepted as an unavoidable part of life are now viewed as crises of public health requiring swift and decisive interventions.  Along with the reductions in pathogen exposure and illness, susceptibility to many disease-causing organisms has increased. Therefore, it is important to continually look for ways of improving and maintaining the high levels of hygiene.

Exposure to disease-causing microorganisms can occur as a result of contact with an infected individual, consumption of contaminated food or water, contact with contaminated objects or surfaces, or inadequate personal care habits. Understanding and implementing good hygienic cleaning in the home can help reduce the risk of illness by maintaining a “hygiene barrier” that reduces these exposures. Practical knowledge about when and where to clean or use antimicrobial products is equally as important as what product to purchase and how to use it to achieve the best results.

The home is a dynamic environment where many different types of activities can be performed by a wide range of individuals, all of whom can vary in age, health, and susceptibility to illness.  In any given day, the typical home can provide the functions of a hotel, a restaurant, a day-care center, a medical center, or a pet shop.  Given the wide array of situations that can be present in a home, it is not difficult to imagine that there is a parallel array of potential hygiene needs that accompanies the individuals and activities that make up a typical household day.

Adapted from: Against Disease – The Impact of Hygiene and Cleanliness on Health, SDA, 2008 – www.againstdisease.org