Yet another study is whipping up a frenzy about our (alleged) unsanitary living conditions. It looks like we have a choice between saving ourselves or saving the planet. I thought the two went together….
As well as the usual advice to wash hands frequently, disinfect the toilet and be scrupulous in the kitchen, we’re now told to wash our clothes in bleach if possible and at the highest temperature to kill off any residual infective agents. If this isn’t possible, blast them in the tumble dryer at the highest heat.
Is it any wonder we’re all dazed and confused? On one hand we’re exhorted to run the washing machine at the lowest possible temperature and save power in order to save the planet. On the other, we’re apparently hurtling towards imminent self-destruction by doing so.
I’m no slob, as my family will attest, but I really take exception to this constant scare-mongering. Given the billions spent on advertising, we’re all aware of the need for hygiene.
Increasingly powerful cleaning aids and over-hyped marketing campaigns are all contributing to the overall sense of panic. If it’s not germs in the kitchen or bathroom, beware what lurks in your bedding and for heaven’s sake sanitise the TV remote control.
The human side to all this is that our immune systems are being given less and less stimulation. Like a stroppy teenager with ultra-liberal parents, it has nothing to rebel against.
I’m not suggesting that we allow our home to become hovels and ourselves to remain unwashed and wear dirty clothes, but let’s keep a sense of perspective.
It’s surely no accident that alongside this hype over germs, more and more children (and adults) are becoming allergic to everyday substances such as house dust.
Research into the rise in allergies is showing that children need to play outside in mud and dirt to allow healthy development of their immune systems, rather than remain in a pristine indoor environment.
An interesting piece of research from the USA says that exposure to dirt enables better production of the bacteria which promote faster skin healing.
Yet again, conflicting messages designed to keep us in a permanent state of worry.
As I see it, all that we really need is a healthy dose of common sense.