The “Germs Will Get You” Approach

I  have read  many articles in the newspapers and magazines about how to prevent diseases we can get from all of the germs we are exposed to.  Bathrooms are infamous for this, as are gyms and grocery store baskets.  I learned about a couple of new places from an article by Louise Kosta in the Summer 2012 edition of The Human Ecologist.  (Check out  These new danger spots are fitting rooms, where the clothing you are trying on can carry germs; and also the seat-back pockets in airplanes – who knows what the previous person put in there including used napkins and tissues.  I personally would add to the list money, as in bills and coins.

Needless to say, the articles I read all say to wash your hands after every exposure or touch.  Many authors recommend hand sanitizers.  My concern about the latter is what is the chemical being used to sanitize.  Some use Triclosan which is a topical antibiotic that is associated with endocrine disruption.  Some use alcohol which, at the very least, will dry out your skin.  Also, many people are sensitive to the alcohol in other ways.  Some use propylene glycol which also can have harmful effects on our bodies.

What is a person to do?  What I find missing from many of these articles is this concept: healthy lifestyle results in healthy living.  Getting adequate sleep (for most of us this means at least 8 hours per night), eating a healthy diet (sorry, white sugar is not included in this) and taking supplements create a healthy immune system.  Our immune system will protect us from the vast majority of germs we get exposed to if we give it the resources to work.  It is also important to acknowledge stressful situations.

Emotional burdens wear us down.  I had 3 patients in my office this week each of whom was complaining of fatigue and one also had a sore throat of 2 weeks duration.  All were suffering from our very strong allergy season.  As I questioned them, 2 of the 3 also spoke of crises in their lives, one at work and one in her family.  Just talking about these and acknowledging how upset they were improved their energies immediately.  They were also able to plan how to address the problems in healthier ways.

The take home message?  When we take care of ourselves, we don’t have to fret over whether the germs will bring us down.  Humans have been around for 100,000’s of years, so our immune systems must be able to be very effective.  Now we just need to respect them and support our best potential.

To your health…

About Cathie Lippman, M.D.

I invite you to visit my website:
This entry was posted in Allergies, Food and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.