This article in the Wall St Journal is an interesting example of the misleading discussion between too much and too little exposure to microbes. The real question to answer is "how do we reengage with the good guys and minimise exposure to the bad guys". Its not that we need more or less hygiene or cleanliness, what we need is targeted hygiene i.e focussing on hand hygiene, food hygiene, respiratory hygiene etc – on surfaces which the bad guys use to circulate around the home, at times when there is a risk – and not just when someone is infected or immune compromised.
The WSJ quotes “NYU's Dr. Blaser says he generally doesn't recommend hand sanitizers and disinfectant wipes because they kill good bacteria, which can help protect against bad bacteria. Exceptions, he says "are in hospitals and during flu season”. “In our desire to get rid of bad bugs we're also getting rid of good bugs," he says. He has not twigged that killing a few good bacteria on the hands, at the times that matter, is not a problem, but getting rid of the bad guys is important to reduce risks of food, GI and respiratory etc infections. How can we get this across?
The article can be found HERE