Germs. They are everywhere and we have become a culture that tries to sterilize everything. As a parent, I can understand it. There's not much worse than seeing your child suffering when you can't do much about it. It's especially concerning with newborns because they are so vulnerable and most over the counter medication isn't safe for them.
I believe part of this cultural need stems from all the fear that has been driving us here in the US. I often hear people justifying a bigger car because they are afraid of being hurt. We run out to the stores to buy what "everyone else" has partly out of fear of not fitting in. Don't get me started on how this plagues us as parents. My daughter an outcast? That feels scary. We buy those shopping cart covers because who knows what's on them?
So, we fear getting sick and maybe covertly this reflects a fear of mortality. The pharmaceutical companies feed into this and market their products to us, so we will buy their products. Anti-bacterial gels/wipes/sprays anyone? At my daughter's music class, it's practically not an option to pass on using that gel the teacher brings to each child.
Most often, all it takes to clean up around our house is some good 'ol fashioned vinegar and baking soda (occasionally hydrogen peroxide). But people bring out the BIG GUNS...just in case, right? Bleach (chlorine) is put into practically all of our store bought cleaners. It is, however, unnecessary to use in most household settings. Shed the toxic bleach and make your own cleaner- it's super easy, less expensive, and MUCH better on Mother Earth (kinda like cloth diapers!).
Getting back to the issue of germs. There seems to be a spectrum of people who range from believing germs are bad and need to be zapped immediately all the way to those who embrace germs believing they can actually help us.
I have to admit that I'm probably somewhere in the middle of the road but lean toward embracing germs. I especially lean when it comes to my two children (4 & under). Some of you are probably judging me believing that I'm being negligent or not protecting my children. But studies are also showing that if we allow our children to build up their immunity at a young age, their immune system is stronger and they have lower rates of allergies, asthma, and other autoimmune diseases in adulthood.
I still believe it's important to have good hand-washing routines. We don't need the "anti-bacterial"soap. Instead, some of LuSa Organics soap would be perfect! And I do believe we should be cautious about infectious diseases but let go of that fear and find some balance.
I even give our kids a supplemental bacteria daily. Probiotics are healthy bacteria that live in the large intestine. By maintaining a healthy balance of these good bacteria, our body can protect itself better from the harmful bacteria.
Buying organic foods can also prevent some of the food-borne illnesses that have been causing massive amounts of recalled food. Even today, I learned that cantaloupe is being recalled for having listeria on it and causing deaths. This is something to be concerned about and well worth spending a few more on the organic selection.
So what about you? Where do you fall on the spectrum? What cleaners do you use at home? Do you use those shopping cart covers to protect your child in the grocery store?
Here's another article on the topic, if you're interested in reading more about it.
Jen Starks, Owner www.ecologicalbabies.com firstname.lastname@example.org 574.275.1235