July 01, 1999
Meetings & Conventions: Short Cuts July 1999 Current Issue
July 1999
AppleShort Cuts:

Germs are everywhere, and so are products that fight them, such as antibacterial cleansers and specially treated plastics. But is all this germ warfare making life safer? Not really, say most experts. Washing one's hands is still the best way to kill germs after a day spent gripping the handrail on the mall escalator. Although antibacterial soaps might be slightly better for cleaning open cuts, they don't kill bugs like staphylococcus or E. coli any better than a vigorous scrub with soap and water.

Rumors of "super bugs" germs with a greater resistance to antibacterial agents have some consumers concerned. Steven Blanke, Ph.D., assistant professor of biology and biochemistry, specializes in bacterial pathogenesis at the University of Houston. He admits "super bugs" are a possible threat but largely because humans' habits are helping them thrive. "When people take antibiotics incorrectly, they kill 90 percent of the bacteria, the weakest ones," says Blanke. "When&they don't finish the course, the stronger bugs [can] regroup."

Blanke says humans are "bathed" in bacteria all the time, and "not only is that not harmful, we need this normal flora." He adds, "The No. 1 defense against bacteria is a healthy immune system."

Back to Current Issue index | Back to Short Cuts index
M&C Home Page
Current Issue | Events Calendar | Newsline | Incentive News | Meetings Market Report
Editorial Libraries | CVB Links | Reader Survey | Hot Dates | Contact M&C