Pediatric units are currently overwhelmed with very unwell kids, and with everyone now back at school, and the seasons about to change, it’s important to help do what we can to boost the immune systems of our children.
In 2014 the World Health Organisation urged us to reduce our use of hand sanitsers due to its damaging effect on our skin microbiome, and therefore our overall immune systems. Fast-forward to 2020 and along comes Covid and, understandably, hand sanitising goes mainstream.
We take a look into what the experts are saying about hand sanitisers, and how we can stay safe while also protecting our bodies’ natural defenses…
Firstly, what’s our microbiome?
The microbiome is made up of millions of microorganisms which live in and on our bodies. Having a microbiome full of beneficial bacteria is essential for defending our bodies against illnesses, bacteria and disease.
Each time we use hand sanitiser, we are killing off not only the bad bacteria and viruses, but the good ones too.
In a recent Instagram Live conversation (which can be found on the @lizzieloveshealthy Instagram page dated 9 September), two leading children’s nutrition experts discussed our reliance on hand sanitiser and why it’s having a negative effect.
In this discussion, Lucinda Miller, from NatureDoc Kids explains “The skin microbiome is super important. It’s really protective for your immune system. Everything that you put on your skin gets absorbed through your skin into your body.” She stresses how important the different bacteria are which live on our skin, and how the bad bacteria get controlled by the good guys, building up what she calls our “adaptive immune system”. “It’s like a massive ecosystem, think of it as a jungle on our skin”.
“If you’re constantly sanitising, you’re basically carpet bombing your skin all the time and taking it ALL out. And it’s then got to re-populate, and then has a greater chance of the bad guys coming back and not the good guys” Lucinda says.
Lizzie, from Lizzie Loves Healthy, describes it as a cumulative effect since Covid, saying “Every little tiny thing which we’ve done over the last 18 months has dramatically changed our immune system”.
They go on to conclude that hand washing is a much safer and more effective defense against viruses. With Lucinda explaining “Soap is slightly different, it’s just washing off the excess, it’s not sanitising, and that’s the difference.”