Mounting data suggest antibacterial soaps do more harm than good

Mounting data suggest antibacterial soaps do more harm than good

“The principle is sound. To avoid illness, expose yourself to germs, enabling your immune system to develop antibodies. I don’t know why everyone doesn’t do this… Maybe they have something against living forever.” - Dwight

This has been common knowledge for over thirty years to the point it's in encyclopedias and covered in pretty much any class related to germs.

I miss The Office :(

We are required to scrub at least 7 min if it is the first surgery of the day and then 5 min scrubs for the rest of the day.

I wonder how this applies to healthcare workers. I read that using antibacterial soap is still the appropriate protocol for surgery, but what about everyone else in a medical setting? Not only for your own protection, but for the protection of other patients to prevent cross-contamination? As a nurse, I couldn't imagine being without antibacterial soap in the work setting.

It says in the article that triclosan , the active ingredient in antibacterial soap is effective after long washes (it says doctors scrub for at least 1 minute before surgery) however the regular Joe only scrubs for a few seconds making it not very effective. This action would be like being too lazy to finish your antibiotic causing those who are resistant to live and propagate

edit: apparently hospitals use a different soap that isnt triclosan however the point still stands that due to the short amount of time people use to wash their hands, antibacterial soap isnt not very effective and stands to cause more harm than good

Boosting immune systems is not the point of this article. It's about the unintended harmful effects of antimicrobials, and their relative ineffectiveness over and above regular soaps and ethanol-based cleansers.

Right? It's more like "mounting data confirms" at this point.

"Scientists just wanted to double check ... Yup, no change."

New England journal of Yes, it's still a thing.

Easy solution, just don't wash your hands after using the bathroom.

He just quoted Dwight from the office, the op isn't taking a side on the issue.

I think it's on Netflix

Holy crap... my hands dried up and cracked just reading that

While I fully realize that, because it is the top comment others who don't read the article may believe that the Dwight quote is relevant to the article's content. But it's only tangential. I was tryin' to help other future readers with my comment.

I hate that I have no idea what type of soap I am using in public restrooms.

yeah, but those things were HORRIBLE. That was pretty much saying "you know what we shouldn't do? Dump literal tons of tiny plastic beads into rivers"

I thought one minute sounded ridiculous.

George Carlin - Germs, Immune System

George Carlin told us this years ago:

It's not asbestos bad, and people would get angry over government control of their lives.

But that's a totally different show.

Excuse me sir, do you have a moment to learn about moisturizer, our lord and savior?

They have thoes... Pretty much everyone has access to them. Is called the ground.

Better yet, wipe them on the toilet seat to be extra safe.

Not in the UK. Piracy is the other option.

don't tell me what to do obama

Sure, but this article focuses on two substances and the specific changes they may cause in your body/health. The overarching theme may be familiar, but the specifics may be new.

This man was a fucking prophet. Still my favourite comedian of all time. RIP Carlin, you're fucking dead.

You have the uk office

What we should have are hand dirtying stations where we run our hands with dirt.

Hi everybody!

Excellent. I haven't washed in years so I'm already ready for the germapocalypse. Now people will be rushing just to shake my hand when they would have wrinkled their noses in disgust just looking at me. HA.

One minute scrub is what dodgy surgeons promote on YouTube clips.

You joke but scientists have regular tests to make sure gravity still works the same.

When something is so obviously bad, why doesn't the government have it removed, like they did for household use of asbestos?

Edit: I added another link about why it's bad.

The difference is by "poisoning" yourself, you make yourself more likely to sustain a bacterial infection. If you sustain a bacterial infection, you are given antibiotics. The more we use antibiotics, the less effective they become for everyone because of evolving drug resistance. It's the same principle that makes not vaccinating a child bad- it's not just about that individual, herd immunity affects everyone and there's absolutely zero logical reason we should allow it to be weakened.

When using it can lead to super germs, resistant to antibiotics, I think the public health concerns are more important than allowing uninformed people to make a choice bad for society.

Please explain what exactly is the common knowledge you're talking about that's also in the article.

Rotten teeth create inflammation and constantly introduce bacteria directly into our bloodstreams over periods of days, weeks, or months. This is significantly worse than bacteria entering a cut which seals within hours, or onto the mucosal surfaces.

The immune system will deal with it, but probably not before damage is done. May even kill you first.

EDIT: Not to say hygiene isn't really important. It is a huge reason we don't get sick as often.

i used to get dry and itchy hands all the time with some peeling too. i did some reading and learned that the natural biome on your skin can be negatively affected by using antibaterial soap, as it kills the good bacteria that keeps yeasts at bay. since switching to 'regular' non-anti-bacterial soap that problem has entirely disappeared.

Sounds like the word you're looking for is Flanderization

Yes, the inevitability that our time as a species has an expiration date that we can do nothing about and can come at any moment without warning.

Soap does kill germs. It's hydrophilic. Cellular membranes are lipids (one side hydrophobic, one side hydrophilic). Soap solvates the hydrophobic parts of the lipid; it dissolves the membranes of the cell, killing the bacteria. The hydrophilic part of the detergent molecule allows it to be washed away.

First couple of seasons were fantastic...then they started exaggerating all the characters' "quirks" past the point of really being funny and made everyone one-dimensional gags.

Here comes he's going to say something conservative and/or manly in a deadpan tone.

Here comes she's going to not care about anything and think everything is dumb.

Here comes he's gonna do or say something amazing and be put down by the gang.

There's a name for when shows do this, but I'm not sure what it is.

That destroying all the germs around you makes you more likely to get sick, not less.

We got ride of micro beads

What the fuck!? You're disgusting. I hope you live alone.

Hand sanitizer is fine. It's made with alcohol, not antibiotics. Alcohol works in a fundamentally different way that bacteria cannot develop resistance to. It may or may not be good for the people who use it, but it does not breed superbugs.

Moisturizer after scrubbing for surgery?

And yet dental care isn't included in health plans... bah!

I can certainly understand liking season 9, but having just last week finished my third time through the whole show, I just gotta say this: season 8 is bad.

No the scrub tech is the team member responsible for assuring sterility of the operating field and also hands the sterile instruments to the surgeon when needed.

Give it time. Someone will bottle it, say it's from some exotic sounding place even though it's from an old field in Pennsylvania, sell it at ridiculous prices, and people will swear it's better than regular dirt.

Or wash without soap, you'll knock off some of the weaker less established bacteria.

edit: off

Quite a few years ago (like 15+) I remember when antibacterial soaps first came out, and I remember wondering what was so great, ie. wasn't regular soap supposed to kill bacteria? The advertisements said kills more 'germs' than regular soap, and I got thinking what that meant. I actually phoned a company (probably Dial) to ask how many more 'germs' did their antibacterial products kill, compared to regular soap. And they couldn't/wouldn't tell me! They said they'd send me some literature on their products, and I could 'make my own comparison'! So it's been bullshit for a long time. At my house we wash our hands with whatever soap we have and do fine. The key is just washing your hands properly and often.

Or probably because you're not going to rub your arm on your face, unlike your fingers.

"Take a fuckin chance, buncha god damn pussies!"

Why'd you sugar coat it like that?

It's not 7 minutes of random scrubbing. It's actually quite detailed and somewhat structured.

Start with fingernails and fingertips, finger pads, every side of every finger, thumbs, palm, back of hand, wrist, forearm...then repeat on your other hand. Every area should receive 10+ strokes.

Those 7 minutes end up going by quite quickly.

I haven't washed in years so I'm already ready for the germapocalypse.

This guy has you beat.

Those who already know this already limit their use of antibacterials and those who are crazy germophobes will still use crazy amounts of antibacterials. Nothing will change

I was tryin' to help other future readers with my comment.

We both know reddit doesn't read articles.

I don't suggest using microbeads as anal lube

Let's roll some coal brah.

Hand sanitizer is alcohol based. Bacteria aren't developing immunities to alcohol, they develop their immunities to other drugs and compounds.

You use disinfectant before surgery (ie: iodine), not antibacterial soap.

Every hospital I've ever worked in had normal soap and alcohol hand sanitizer, plus iodine or chlorhexidene scrub pre-surgery.

This article is referring to consumer soaps with antibiotics like triclosan, which hospitals do not use.

Is... is there something I should worry about?

Either way, standard of practice for scrubbing in the OR is to use 4% chlorhexidine gluconate as an antimicrobial agent, not triclosan. I don't think triclosan is listed anywhere as a standard for the operative setting. Triclosan is, however, generally the antimicrobial agent in the multitude of store-bought handsoaps.

How do you balance the increased risk of infection of your own hands, if the skin becomes blistered and/or cracks?

It's still the top comment, sometime the only answer people will read on a thread.

That british chick killed the show. They had so many scenes that felt like she was being shoehorned into along with the Rocky Dennis face, I couldn't watch it anymore. For thise that don't know, this is Rocky Dennis

Most of the soap I've seen used is mixed with a moisturizer. Not sure how effective it is though since I've never had a problem with dry hands to begin with

Remember how in the first couple seasons Andy was just kind of a lazy dude? Then he became literally an idiot in every sense of the word for no reason.

High disagree. It's their personality. The jokes revolve around them. Parks and Rec does it right.

Parks and rec was an awesome show, but the last couple of episodes were really wierd and disappointing in my opinion.

We use antibacterial agents that don't cause resistance like alcohol hand sanitizer. The mechanical and surfactant activities of soap are what matter... physically moving bacteria off of the hands, not just destroying them chemically. Hand sanitizer finishes the job. Using chemical antibacterials like triclosan or chlorhexadine regularly in a non-surgical medical setting is a horrible idea... a ticking time bomb. I'm surprised you even use antibacterial soaps, I literally have never seen them in a medical setting... it's pretty well accepted that it's a bad idea.

Normal soap!

Dowvoted until I saw your username

That's not what the article says. It says that they don't kill bacteria, because people don't wash there hands long enough. People don't realize that the fact they don't get sick is because a lot people actually do follow some basic hygiene rules. If bacteria boost the immune system, then why are rotten teeth so bad for your heart? However, I do agree that antibacterial soap should not be used in common household cases.

I HATED Catherine Tate in the Office yet somehow still decided to watch Doctor Who. I'm glad I did, her character in that show was the best.

No tv or radio, usually we go over the details of the case or just shoot the shit

I had two shoulder surgeries last year, and my surgeons hands looked almost painful to me. He had a very strong grip, and his dexterity seemed very good, but his hands looked so raw it was unsettling. That's probably just because the sensation of dry hands drives me up the wall.

I had a huge problem more with his character than James Spader himself. To me, the Office worked because each character was unique and added something different to the overall humor of the show. Every now and then you needed a touch of Michael Scott being a downright moron. When Steve Carell left the show, that part of the humor left with him. Instead it was replaced with a deadpan and more serious type of humor, something we already had with Stanley. You could even argue that the complete 180 was necessary so that fans didn't think we were just being given another Michael Scott. I think James Spader did an excellent job portraying that role, and I get why it was done the way it was, but to me the show just didn't feel the same afterwards.

EDIT: autocorrect fails

Even medical staff are recommended to use alcohol products over antibacterial soap.

Creating super bugs is worse than asbestos bad.

Hi knock-off Dr. Nick!

I would make a joke, but it would be redundant.

Your genitals are being constantly bombarded by bacteria. It comes from your asshole.

So, what do we use instead?

Your hands are far more likely to spread bacteria since you touch everything with them. Your armpit has only what you yourself already carry.

So anti-microbial soap is not 100% bad all the time. It has a use in a medical setting and a home setting. In medical settings, it's use is all the time. Hand washing and drying in a medical setting usually takes 3-4 minutes with a lot of time spent scrubbing under water.

For home settings, when there are immunocompromised individuals, anti-microbial soap and proper hand washing procedures should be followed. We're talking a minimum of 30 seconds and up to 2 minutes of scrubbing hands with soap and about equal time cleaning hands under water.

Both methods should be supplemented with the use of hand sanitizer and all surfaces should also be sterilized (Lysol is a common surface disinfectant that should be fine for home use).

But use of anti-microbial or antibacterial soap can be used but only when the proper procedures are followed. Which, once again, takes 3-4 minutes and requires a sterile way of drying your hands.

Anybody happen to know if that godawful super-abrasive anti-wank powdered soap they used to use in high schools was 'anti-bacterial'? I know it sure as hell did a number on skin.

I agree that antibacterial soap and toothpaste should not be used in common household cases, because many bacteria actual help fighting off worse ones. But the article is about the fact that the antibacterial soaps are not effective in killing bacteria in the way they are used. Not that they kill all germs.

The ER near me has a guy taking your blood pressure as you're talking to the intake person. They make you type in your social security number on a keypad and then the guy taking your BP wipes down the keypad with an antibacterial wipe. Not the BP cuff that was just on your bare arm close to your armpit...just the keypad...

Nurses working in the NICU scrub for 3 minutes, I figured OR was at least that but certainly longer!

They also help plan the flow of the surgery by ensuring all the proper equipment is available and in working order, check all instruments for sterility when unboxing, help gown and glove the doctors, direct the circulating nurse to get unanticipated items, help to retract, help position the patient, drape the patient, prep meds for the surgery, ensure proper equipment counts at the end of the case (hugely important if you don't want to leave things in a patient's body), prep the room.

Source: have made a scrub tech mad

'regular' non-anti-bacterial soap

Nurses for us in the OR usually scrub for 3 minutes also, but I have actually been yelled at by the scrub tech for not scrubbing long enough.

It's not so bad, dey letcha keep da part of the brain they take out.

Alright, not taking a bath is one thing but why the hell is he smoking animal shit?