Can We Be Too Clean (Ultra Sanitary)? (1 Viewer)

Steve R.

Local time
Today, 02:55
Jul 5, 2006
This morning a commercial was on the TV advertising a home hepa filter device. Considering the need to protect ourselves from the Covid virus the use of a hepa filter reasonable (home, hospitals, airplanes, car, etc.). Advertisments such as this are pushing, using fear, for ultra cleanliness. But is ever greater sanitation actually beneficial in the long-run?

The article below takes the side that ultra sanitation is excessive.
We take long showers, change clothes every day and wash our hands regularly. Is this doing us more harm than good?

"But at the same time, some scientists also tell us that being too clean is also wrong, because it might help cause asthma and allergies. So is there a balance between keeping obsessively clean and learning to live with the bacteria all around us?"

"We need contact with the microbial biodiversity from the environment – Graham Rook, University College London"

"Overall obsessive washing ‘disrupts the normal flora which keep you healthy by competing with harmful organisms’"

"Let your children play in places where they have contact with soil and vegetation, which are rich in beneficial microbes – Ilkka Hanski"

Pushing "cleanliness", in terms of Covid-19, has resulted in some unintended consequence. These are not from the typical calls for cleanliness, but the associated actions, such as social distancing and deferred health care. Similar to ultra sanitation, does the imposition of restrictions for the objective of reducing the transmission of Covid-19 result in greater adverse impacts to overall health? For example, you reduce the Covid-19 death rate, but increase the cancer death rate due to deferred medical treatment.

We need to take some time and evaluate whether the quest for ultra sanitation is a case of the cure being worse than the disease.
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Lifelong Learner
Local time
Yesterday, 23:55
Mar 14, 2017
My gut feeling is that: Absolutely.

When I grew up, washing our hands was something mostly just associated with having gone to the bathroom. Not necessarily just because you'd been playing in the dirt, working on the car, playing in the forest, or wrestling out in the yard with the brothers, unless your hands had clods of sod hanging off of them, and that was more for practical reasons, not because we thought dirt was going to kill us.

Us kids often shared a water glass throughout the day, rinsed out and set back upside down by the faucet (from whence came well water).

I didn't hear of hand sanitizer until I was in my very late teens, at college.

As kids we were very, very rarely sick. When we were it was only a seasonal flu.

I found out when I raised kids, years after, in a city, that everyone and their brother now has "allergies". Allergist MD's make millions off of those years--doing all kinds of therapies, like injection therapy. By the time the kid grows out of the allergies, like my son had them and of course grew out of them around 6-9 years, nobody even knows if the allergy was real nor if the treatment was the reason it went away. Great industry if you're looking for a money maker!

I'll never forget the # of times my son's "allergist" changed the diagnosis. After the first run of tests he was allergic to almost everything - bread, soy, wheat, grass of all kinds, trees, it was ridiculous. After about a year they concluded most of that was wrong. By then the allergist had made about a quarter million on him (although we never really changed his diet). The allergist even said once something like "Don't worry....chances are that by the time his treatment is finished, he will have grown out of it"......... I kind of wondered how he could say that aloud with a straight face.

I think anyone who looks at: 1) the old days with less sanitizing & more playing in dirt, and 2) the modern days of ULTRA-frequent sanitization with even more sickness, you really have to wonder where our brains are.

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Active member
Local time
Today, 02:55
Sep 8, 2020
I think taking sanitation too far is bad in the long term. I believe our bodies need to be exposed to your "everyday" viruses and such to keep the immune system running in top shape.

I see it as if you are in a sterile environment too long, you eventually become even more susceptible to illness.


Local time
Today, 07:55
Jul 26, 2013
I agree completely and I think younger parents are just as responsible for a lot of the problem.
Kids don't get to play out in the muck and crap anything like as much as we did, "new mum/dad" thinks that little Johnny has the plague every time they sneeze, and rushes them to the doctor.

I suffer from a mainly mild pet hair allergy. It sets off irritated eyes and sometimes asthma.
But, if I maintain contact with the specific animal (dog / cat) for some time (about 7-10 days) I become accustomed to it and the reaction goes away.

If I keep my distance I constantly get the problem.


Former Staff Turned AWF Retiree
Local time
Today, 02:55
Dec 26, 2002
I think it depends on your home situation. Of you want to come into my house, you will wash your hands and wear a mask. A HEPA filter was recommended by doctors before the pandemic hit to avoid illness because of my at risk family member. If I didn't have such a risk, I wouldn't be so serious about all of it for myself.

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