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Vaccines, Antibiotics, and Antibacterial Cleaners: Are they helping or hurting us?

Posted by Catherine Morgan on October 2, 2007


Germs, Viruses, and Vaccines — by Catherine Morgan (cross-posted at BlogHer)

My last post was about germs and protecting yourself from them. For this post, I will be exploring why being “germ free” may actually be doing more harm than good. Let’s start by looking at the Antibacterial Cleaners that have become so popular in our “germ-a-phobe” society. Could it be that our fight against the “germ” is actually causing our lives to be “Too clean“, and possibly less healthy?

The problem with trying to eliminate germs, bacteria, and viruses from our lives, is that our immune systems need the opportunity to fight off these things. When we don’t use our immune system, we allow it to atrophy. And then, when we do become exposed to something it should be able to fight off, our immune system can forget what it’s suppose to do.

“Body soaps, household cleaners, sponges, even mattresses and lip glosses are now packing bacteria-killing ingredients, and scientists question what place, if any, these chemicals have in the daily routines of healthy people.” — read full article

Antibacterial Cleaners Do More Harm Than Good

John previously noted that the triclosan in antibacterial soaps and cleaners was a gender bender that was disrupting the natural grown of frogs and was found in 55% of the rivers and streams in America, and provided a long and surprising list of products that included triclosan. (Its in toothpaste!)

Now we learn from Scientific American that it does more harm than good. It appears that after, say, spraying a counter with an antibiotic cleaner, some chemicals linger and continue to kill bacteria but don’t get all of them. The ones that survive develop a tolerance: “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” Soon we have populations of antibiotic resistant bacteria.

“What is this stuff doing in households when we have soaps?” asks molecular biologist John Gustafson of New Mexico State University in Las Cruces. These substances really belong in hospitals and clinics, not in the homes of healthy people.”

It’s also thought that the attempt at keeping ourselves and homes germ free, may also be contributing to the increase in allergies and asthma. This theory is known as the hygiene hypothesis.

Hugh Sampson, M.D., professor of pediatric allergy/immunology at New York City’s Mount Sinai Medical Center, noting that the percentage of children under five who are allergic to peanuts has doubled in the last five years. But, Sampson notes, hypotheses as to why vary. It may be that we are so focused on cleanliness that young children are not exposed to appropriate bacterial or viral stimulation, resulting in their immune systems not developing appropriate responses. This theory has been used to explain the rise of both allergies and asthma. — read full article

Also see some of these mom’s blogging about their children with allergies and asthma…


Queen of Spain

Allergy Moms

my kids’ allergies

And this is really just the tip of the iceberg…Our body’s immune system was designed to fight infection and disease, but with the advent of vaccines we are no longer burdened with the need to fight off life-threatening diseases (such as polio and measles). Then there is the wide spread use and abuse of antibiotics, which is further reducing our body’s need to utilize its immune system the way it was intended.

At Barbara Fisher’s blog, there is post after post about the problems that over use of antibiotics are causing…

“Our first step toward correcting the problem is to build public knowledge and awareness of when antibiotics work — and when they don’t,” said Richard Besser, MD, CDC’s medical director of the campaign. “We want Americans to keep their families and communities healthy by getting smart about the proper use of antibiotics.”

Hello, Dr. Besser! Antibiotics are prescribed by DOCTORS. People do not “use” antibiotics without a doctor’s prescription. They don’t wake up and say to themselves “I think I will take an antibiotic today and help bacteria evolve into superbugs that will kill thousands.”

As well as the many problems that have been “created” with the creation and use of vaccines…

The pneumococcal vaccine was developed because doctors had over-prescribed antibiotics for four decades and the most serious cases of pneumoccocal disease were no longer responding to antibiotics.

There is always a big price to pay when doctors fool around with Mother Nature. The Prevnar vaccine that was developed by doctors to solve a problem with antibiotic resistance created by doctors has now created another monster: a vaccine-resistant virulent strain of strep that is causing ear infections in children that cannot be treated with any known antibiotic safe for use in children.

And what about the Flu Vaccine?

What healthy adults and parents of healthy children need to ask themselves is: why do healthy people need to deliberately inhale live flu viruses when the majority of healthy people don’t get that sick from the flu and recover without any complications?

There is a lot of great information about the risks and benefits of vaccines and antibiotics at Barbara’s blog, you should check it out.

It is not new for doctors to stubbornly deny that medical interventions they prescribe for people cause harm. Blood letting, treating syphilis with arsenic and mercury, lobotomies, and prescribing thalidomide for morning sickness are just a few examples of medical treatments recommended by doctors over the centuries which have ended up crippling and killing people. As more prescription drugs and vaccines are produced by industry for doctors to routinely prescribe – or mandate – there are more drug and vaccine reactions being experienced by the people who follow their doctors’ orders. And the more people are being hurt, the deeper doctors retreat into denial.

Also check out what Peg from “Peggy, as she is” thinks, in her post Germs, Germs, Germs

With apologies for sounding like Andy Rooney, I must ask…Have you ever noticed that it’s often the folks who are uber-germophobes that tend to have kids who get sick all the time? This isn’t a scientific statement, just a personal observation. As far as I’m concerned, it’s because of one or a combination of the two following things — read full post

So…How do you weigh in on this issue of germs, viruses, and vaccines? I hope you’ll let me know in comments.

above image from

Contributing Editor Catherine Morgan
also at CatherineBlogs.com


3 Responses to “Vaccines, Antibiotics, and Antibacterial Cleaners: Are they helping or hurting us?”

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  2. […] Catherine Morgan wrote a fantastic post today on “Vaccines, Antibiotics, and Antibacterial Cleaners: Are they …”Here’s ONLY a quick extractHugh Sampson, MD, professor of pediatric allergy/immunology at New York City’s Mount Sinai Medical Center, noting that the percentage of children under five who are allergic to peanuts has doubled in the last five years. … […]

  3. AnNeTtE said

    I love your blog and have to agree with what you say. I was originally looking for some scientific studies that show the link between antibacterials and peoples health and how it is affected when I stubled across your blog. Thanks for sharing this info with me and others.

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