Having a chuckle here, but it seems as if all the twitterlogians of last week have suddenly become infectious disease specialists? This virus may or may not get me, but I am absolutely certain I shall not long survive all the virtue signaling….
Anyway, during the course of human events, while attempting to explain to someone that washing your hands with Lysol was totally unnecessary and possibly dangerous, up popped the accusation, “you’re not an infectious disease specialist!”
Actually I am! I totally am, which made me laugh because I actually do have that “credential.” It’s probably expired now on account of the fact that I am often too cheap to pay my renewal fees and I tend to have little or no respect for red tape. I am also chuckling because that is exactly what it says, my name written right above the words, “infectious disease specialist.”
What you might ask, is a “specialist?” A glorified housekeeper! It’s nothing to sneeze at, I actually had to sit through a class on blood born pathogens and how to properly handle and dispose of assorted forms of human biological goo. Not for the faint of heart, I assure you.
I also have a great deal of hands on field experience, but I digress. My point being, I actually do have the credential, so I shall now offer you the expert opinion free of charge.
The very best germ killer ever is still soap and water. Wash your hands with soap and water. Sing the birthday song twice. Say the Lord’s prayer. Whatever tickles your fancy, just slow it down and take the time to do it properly. In fact, wash anything you possibly can with soapy water, like clothing, bedding, towels. Most germs are very weak when confronted with soap and water. They collapse! It’s kind of a more analogical description then a scientific one, but they have an outer layer that is basically fat and soap melts it. Imagine breaking an egg. Thus ends any possibility of a hatched chick!
That shell is the difference between a vehicle for reproduction and an omelette.
A bit of very diluted bleach mixed with water is good for wiping down things like door nobs that you may not wish to suds up with soap and water and then try rinse off. Very diluted bleach! The CDC advises using a bleach solution of 4 teaspoons bleach per quart of water. That is a strong, very, heavy bleach mixture. Generally for food surfaces it is something more like a tablespoon in a gallon of water. Do not make it stronger, this does not make it better. Bleach is also toxic and should NEVER be mixed with other chemicals.
So, soap and hot water is far superior to hand sanitizers. It is also probably more effective than disinfecting wipes or Lysol. In fact, way back when Lysol was first marketed to us it was actually advertised as a douche for women and also as a form of birth control. This is an appalling, horrific, and potentially dangerous use of Lysol, but it’s historical truth. I only mention this factoid because it is some rather cut and dry evidence of the fact that people who manufacture cleaning products, often don’t give a spit about your health and well being. They simply want to sell cleaning products.
People have been, and continue to be brainwashed into believing they cannot live without certain products, as if their very health and well being depends on it. Rubbish! The truth is plain old soap and water is still the best and most effective for cleaning you and everything you touch.
Hand sanitizers are a mixed bag. The jury is still out. If you are in a car or away from soapy water, than yes, an alcohol based sanitizer is probably better than nothing. Chuckling here, but currently homemade vodka sanitizer is all the rage. That’s all well and good but vodka is often only about 40 proof! If you really want to make the good stuff, you should probably go get some moonshine which is twice as strong, closer to 100 proof. Or you could just use rubbing alcohol, which is much cheaper. Just don’t EVER drink it and be careful, it’s highly flammable.
I like to use alcohol wipes or disinfectant wipes on my keyboards, remotes, and phone only because soapy water tends to kill them. Of course, if your phone no longer works, you’re less likely to handle it, so it will have less germs on it.
You should wash your laundry with soap and clean your dishes with soap and wash your hands with soap simply because it is good hygiene, it helps to prevent the spread of germs, and it makes your environment nicer. You should do this ALWAYS, just as a matter of routine, like breathing. No global pandemic required.
The reason why we always focus so hard on good hand washing during flu and cold season or panic inducing global epidemics, is because germs usually do not have legs or wings, so they cannot move themselves around. So we must pick them up, carry them where they want to go, and then proceed to rub them into our own eyes, nose, or mouth. If they had a public transportation system of their own, we’d all be dead by now.
This current virus is allegedly carried by droplets which means germs must be sneezed or coughed or shot across the room in order for you to “catch” them. Keep in mind they can probably be gently breathed on you, too. They can land on surfaces in the process and so you can, in theory anyway, pick them up off a sneeze splattered phone and then rub them into your own nose. This is why we are trying to social distance about six feet away, to keep ourselves out of the spit zone.
One final note, baby wipes do almost nothing to kill germs. They are generally just for cleaning baby’s bottoms. Nobody sterilizes their baby’s bum! They often have mineral oil and few preservatives in them. They are not disinfectant wipes or hand sanitizers. They are not a “magic wipe.” Good for getting sticky stuff off of things, but they are a really poor substitute for washing your hands with soap and water.
I have seen some stuff, some stuff that happens when people get the heeby jeebies and panic clean or panic sanitize. Don’t do that, it’s not necessary. It can even be really dangerous.
This concludes the expert opinion of a genuine “infectious disease specialist.” You’re welcome.