By Joseph Parish
Even when we are bugging out in an emergency we all like to be clean and have a fresh feeling about us but perhaps in our zeal for cleanliness we might possibly be endangering our health. Some scientific circles have even concluded that our obsession with being clean may have caused the emergence of the antibiotic resistant bacteria strains we are now experiencing. Several articles found on the internet which have been written by experts for the parenting magazines have advised parents that they should not keep their children “too” clean. In my childhood years my parents believed that a little dirt was a good thing for a growing child.
Cleaning up after participating in activities where you would normally come in contact with dirt and microbes prior to eating is just good hygiene practice but washing our hand with anti-bacterial soups every half hour hinges upon obsession. The use of antibacterial products kills not only the harmful bacteria but will also eliminate a third of the beneficial bacteria as well. Remember in the wild when we bug out there is no doctor to rush off to; we are each on our own.
As a society we have become so involved with cleanliness that we frequently sterilize everything around us with antibacterial agents containing the chemical triclosan. Now here my friend is the real kicker, triclosan is considered to be the major creator of superbugs. For those not familiar with the phrase Superbugs, these are bacteria that has been modified so much that they are immune to all forms of antibiotics.
Our bodies need certain bacteria and if in our quest for total cleanliness we destroy them than we are in effect destroying ourselves. If you glance at your soaps and cleansers you will likely find that the labels advocate the “antibacterial” benefits of using them. From cleaning sprays used for kitchen countertops, to hand soaps, to laundry detergents and even some cosmetics we see these antibacterial products surrounding us.
The normal healthy prepper family does not require all of these antibacterial products. Granted, they serve a useful purpose in hospitals and within the homes of the ill or elderly who might have a low immunity to sickness but we often take precautions to extreme.
Understanding that all of the unnecessary products needed to stay clean aren’t needed we generally question how we would keep these superbugs at bay? For this purpose it is recommended that one use non-residues type cleaning products such as bleach, peroxides, various alcohols along with the traditional soap and water.
I recall that once a woman had mentioned that it is possible that a child could potentially died as a result of being kept too clean. This is likely a urban legend but the basis is true to nature.
In the same respect, we have to think back when we were young children growing up in an un-sterilized world. We made pies of mud or those who were raised on a farm were used to dealing with manure piles and other animal bi-products. Perhaps getting an occasional slap in the face by a moving cow tail brings back memories for some people. Growing up with dogs and cats did not contribute to allergies or to illness as is usually the case today. We didn’t worry about getting diseases or needing antibiotics continually, our bodies built up those protective agents which it needed. If we got a bit of dirt on us it was no big deal. If we ate a mud pie it was a laughing matter to our family and not a cause of alarm. Our mother would keep our home clean but it was in no way spotless. We would always start our day off by donning clean clothes upon our backs; we washed our hands after each and every use of the bathroom as well as prior to consuming our meals.
Our food was viewed as more nutritionally sound at that time and never was suspected as a source of illness as it is today. Fast food was not a staple in our lives and baking was a daily activity for our mothers. The good bacteria generally kept the dangerous bacteria under hand. Of course we had incidents of bacteria taking their toll but in general we survived without antibiotics. It all centers upon your lifestyle.