Antimicrobial everything

Support bacteria…they’re the only culture some people have.

The new demons of our age…invisible, omnipresent, and, in popular opinion, omnimalevolent…

“Germs.”

I prefer to call them either microbes, microorganisms, or bacteria, but I’m a biologist and will correct people who call a lichen a moss and a jalapeƱo a vegetable. Because I know the difference.

We live in the age of antimicrobial shoes, antimicrobial towels, antibacterial body wash, and I’ve even heard of antibacterial window cleaner. It’s all bullshit, as far as I’m concerned. The FDA seems to agree.

Seriously, people. As a species, we’ve grown up with pathogens. They’re in the air we breathe, the surfaces we touch, and the food we eat. Most of them don’t cause us any harm. I’m certainly not in my death-throes because I only wash with soap and water and don’t own an antimicrobial toilet seat or cellphone or underwear or what-have-you. Fuck, I hardly ever get sick, and when I do it only makes me feel like shit for a few days. I know people who’ve taken antibiotics for every sniffle and get laid out just as soon as the damn 24-hour bug rears it’s inconvenient-but-only-just head.

The fucking “swine flu” just gave people the flu. That’s all it is. A flu. Relatively mild. “An average of about 36,000 people per year in the United States die from influenza-related causes…” That’s not swine flu. That’s just the “regular” flu. Swine flu is just another media-induced fear-mongering tactic. So are all the “germ” lists.

Instead of just putting up with the minor annoyance of most pathogens, people seek to eliminate them from their environments. You can’t protect your child from pathogens just as you can’t protect your child from sex. Instead of sucking it up and acting like an adult, people act like ninnies and buy up every antimicrobial product on the market in the hopes of preventing…nothing. That’s right. Nothing. I highly doubt, as does the FDA, that using antimicrobial products will keep you safe from the swine flu or the avian flu or the homosexual menace or the fucking unicorns.

I don’t advocate that we do away with antibiotics and antimicrobial products altogether. I keep antibacterial gel in my car for when I pick up roadkill…there’s usually not a convenient sink and bar of soap nearby when you’re peeling a dead bobcat off the side of Highway 290. Antibiotics have their place. Their place, however, is NOT every fucking time you go see the doctor about a sniffle. Antimicrobial agents’ places are not in every fucking product known to man, dildos included. It’s unnecessary and potentially dangerous. Your body is more than capable of dealing with pathogens on its own…if you let it.

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5 Responses to “Antimicrobial everything”

  1. Kind of on topic: I never got ringworm. I’m barefoot 70% of the time. I’ve been warned. Oh look, my feet are healthy!

    • I’ve had ringworm three times…all from handling infected kittens. And hookworms aren’t a problem in America due to stringent laws concerning the disposal of human feces. Even so, both are easily treatable and not a major concern.

      I also hear the broken glass comment when I go barefoot. Nevermind that broken glass is easy to spot and easy to remove if stepped on. And my hands are more in danger from glass than my feet.

      I get a lot of ridiculous “there might be sharp objects on the floor, it’s a safety issue!” concerning going barefoot in buildings. I want to ask why they would willing leave sharp objects on the floor and why they don’t require me to wear protective gloves (in case I grab something hot or the aforementioned sharp object) or a helmet (in case something falls on my head). Overprotective bullshit due to a litigation-happy society is all it is.

    • Dargon Says:

      I have heard that this may be due to the reduced moisture when walking barefoot. A shod food tends to hold the sweat in the sock (which is why feet stink), making it a great environment for fungal infections. Prior to going barefoot regularly, I used to get athlete’s foot rather badly. Not so much now that I barefoot regularly. Anecdotal, yes, but based on my prior history, I’ll take it as evidence.

      With regards to broken glass, because of how glass tends to sit, odds of cutting yourself on it are actually pretty slim. Couple that with the thickened skin on the bottom of a regular barefooters foot, and that isn’t going to cut most likely. I used to be able to step on glass without cutting at all. It’d hurt, but it wouldn’t cut. I’d run barefoot, but there’s less time to react to such hazards. Hooray for creepy toe shoes.

      • Actually, the glass issue is a real problem. Unless you’ve lived in a rathole of a city like I have, then you don’t understand this. El Paso was littered with broken glass and there was no way in hell I’d barefoot there. You’re mistaken on cutting yourself being unlikely due to how it sits and it doesn’t break into large pieces that are easy to see as the op says. When it breaks there are very small slivers that shard off it and you can’t pick up, and THOSE are the ones you will get in your feet. And they also don’t come out nicely due to the fact that they’re thin and just shatter when you go at them with tweezers. Closer to downtown and you get things you do NOT want to accidentally trod over (like urine and vomit puddles or thrown diapers), much less with an open wound on the foot, no matter how small.

        I’m all for going barefoot, however it also depends on where you are. In places like Houston, Dallas, College Station barefooting is great. In El Paso? Hell no. In Juarez? Now that is just a death warrant and stupid to boot.

  2. I agree with Falconsong; it’s all just a judgment call. When I’m in Mexico especially, you do not take off your shoes (actually, most Mexicans have a fear of it, I am ALWAYS scolded when I take off my shoes even inside the house!) I only walk barefoot there when I’m leisurely walking and looking down most of the time.

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