Yesterday, S and I were watching a sitcom and during break, there were many ads as usual. There was this one about a hands free soap dispenser. They show many ugly looking germs on top of the regular soap dispenser and how everybody in the family is touching those germs. To get rid of those germs, they suggest using their hands free soap dispenser which you do not have to touch. But, my basic question is, after touching that dispenser for soap, aren’t we washing our hands to get rid of the germs??

As I was talking to S about it, we realized that most of the commercials are about products to keep our home germ free. Mind you it is not enough to keep our home clean, but it has to be bacteria and virus free. When did people start getting paranoid about living? Everything is about getting rid of bacteria as if that is the solution to everything. A soap is a soap. We can wash our hands with a regular soap and still be healthy.

I should say that I myself am obsessed with keeping a clean house. I cannot sleep with my kitchen sink full of dishes or with things scattered around the house. But, I do not clean every surface with anti-bacterial wipes. I sometimes use a disinfectant to clean the kitchen counters and dining table (mostly because it makes my kitchen smell fresh) and also because there is a lot of food stuck to these surfaces and these wipes do a very good job of cleaning all that. Disinfectants are different than anti bacterial products. If you really want to get rid of bacteria and viruses, disinfectants are better. Anti-bacterial products do not kill viruses. So, you would still have some viruses lingering around. Not many people understand this concept. When we have a cold or cough, it is actually better to use a disinfectant to reduce the spread of those viruses to others.

Over use of antibiotics is not good for the environment or for us. All the deadly bacteria like MRSA (Methycillin Resistant Staphylococcus aureus) are existent because of the overuse of antibiotics. There are a lot of antibiotic resistant bacteria out there which cause life threatening infections. Using antibiotics only as required should help in reducing such antibiotics resistant bugs in the future.

The other annoying thing I found was they show the ads for cleaning products in between kids shows. Sarath saw an ad for a cleaning product the other day and was telling me to buy that product. When I asked him why we need that, he simply said “amma, it works hard so you don’t have to!” He did not even remember the name of the product but just remembered the punch line 🙂

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