Dr. Petra offers a natural alternative to stay germ free in cold & flu season!

Dr. Petra offers a natural alternative to stay germ free in cold & flu season!

hand-washingOur own Dr. Petra Caruso, N.D. was recently invited to be an ongoing guest contributor on Portland Today, a new program on KGW, Channel 8 News. Her most recent appearance had her discussing antibacterial soaps, hand sanitizers and natural alternatives. In case you missed the episode, here is some important information from her segment as we head into cold and flu season:

Do you buy antibacterial soaps for your family, believing they are healthier? It so it’s time to rethink this strategy. Last month the FDA ruled that antibacterial soaps including body wash, foams, liquids and bar soaps containing chemicals such as triclosan and triclocarbon will no longer be allowed to be marketed. That’s because the manufacturers failed to prove the safety and efficacy of the antibacterial chemicals.

Triclosan has been found in some studies to be an endocrine disruptor, meaning it can interfere with normal hormone development and functioning. Our skin is permeable and absorbs chemicals very easily, so applying a possible hormone disruptor to the skin is a terrible idea for children as well as adults. These chemicals also end up in our water supply, contaminating it and altering the biology of sea life. In addition, antibacterial soaps also have not been found to be more effective than plain old soap and water in reducing and removing germs.

Hand sanitizers do not fall under this new ruling, although many manufacturers have already removed the controversial chemicals. In order for hand sanitizers to be labeled “antibacterial,” however, they must contain 60-70% ethyl alcohol, a potent amount that can be toxic to a child if ingested. The FDA is currently reviewing the safety of ethyl alcohol as well as other chemicals routinely used in over-the-counter hand sanitizers.

What about times when it’s just not possible to wash with plain old soap and water? Fortunately, safe and effective natural hand sanitizers are a quick and easy do-it-yourself project to do with your kids. While the FDA has not labeled essential oils as antibacterial, we know they have antibacterial properties, kill only the bad bacteria while sparing the beneficial, are non-toxic and safe to our waterways, and smell terrific! Here is a great recipe that is safe and effective as we head into cold and flu season:

¼ cup aloe vera gel
20 drops eucalyptus essential oil
20 drops lemon essential oil
20 drops lavender essential oil
10 drops peppermint essential oil

Mix well in a small travel container and apply as often as needed. Remember that any hand sanitizer is only effective on germs; to remove dirt and grime soap and water are necessary.