Can I just be honest? I have mixed feelings about hand sanitizer and over-cleanliness in general.
Bugs, Even Viruses, Aren’t All Bad…
You see, studies continually show that kids who grow up on farms and are exposed to all kinds of dust, dirt, bacteria and animals have fewer issues with asthma and allergies. (ScienceDaily Article about NEJM article, 2016)
Kids who are in daycare and have more illnesses earlier in life seem to be less sick when they enter school compared to kids who are not in daycare. (CNN article about a study published in Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, 2010)
So being exposed to all of these things is actually helpful! Plus, there is certainly a lot of talk about super bugs and warnings about using antibacterial ingredients like I talked about in my article on Triclosan (which is now banned by the FDA).
But Being Sick is Sometimes Bad…
Our immune systems are designed to fight off illnesses, however, not everyone’s immune system is equal.
My daughter caught Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) when she was 17 months old and was hospitalized for 7 days so that she could be on oxygen until the virus had run it’s course. Normally, a 17 month old would just stay home with what we would think of as a bad cold. In fact, even kiddos who have to be hospitalized for a bad case of RSV usually stay there 3 or 4 days. Brynlee is the exception.
Brynlee was a micro-preemie born 3.5 months early. When we first brought her home after 99 days in the Neonatal ICU, the risk of her getting sick was huge!! We washed hands and used hand sanitizer like crazy people! Really, just a common cold could have landed her back in the hospital. The flu or RSV could have been fatal. We didn’t take her out except for walks and took turns going to Thanksgiving and Christmas family events so that one of us could always be home with her. Family just had to wait to see her until she was bigger and stronger.
Even now, she seems to get sick a little more than other kids and she’s more sick when she does go down.
We’ve chosen to go the hand sanitizer route and frequently use it after playing with other kids during the winter or even a shopping trip. We try NOT to get sick because, honestly, we get sick enough to give out immune systems a good workout!
We eat healthy, get as much sleep as possible (sleep is still an issue for my preemie), and boost our immune systems using remedies like my recipe for fire cider. Even so, keeping bugs from attacking our immune systems in the first place seems to help best!
So, We Use Hand Sanitizer…
That being said, there are a lot of yucky ingredients in hand sanitizers that you buy from stores! Just the ingredient “fragrance” can be a cocktail of chemicals and including phthalates and at very least could cause skin and respiratory irritation.
The nice thing about this recipe is that you know exactly what you are putting on your skin. Plus, you can make it more moisturizing than store-bought!
1/4 cup Aloe Vera Gel (where to buy Aloe Vera Gel)
3/4 cup Rubbing Alcohol–at least 70% Isopropyl Alcohol (where to buy Rubbing Alcohol)
2 Tablespoons Vegetable Glycerine (where to buy Vegetable Glycerine)
10 Drops Essential Oil (optional)
Add all ingredients to a blender or food processor and mix for about 1 minute. Pour it into a pump bottle and use anytime you want to sanitize your hands.
How do you keep healthy during the winter?