Homemade Hand Sanitizer

For the past six months I have been working in a medical office where there are a lot of germ-contaminated sick people. I use hand sanitizer constantly. Fortunately, I will be leaving that job soon. I also worked in retail while I was getting my college degree and used a lot of hand sanitizer combined with handling receipt tape that has BPA in it. It has kept me from catching colds or the flu, but that’s a lot of alcohol on my skin and a lot of exposure to BPA.

Here’s what the NTP (National Toxicology Program has to say about BPA (Bisphenol A is a chemical widely used to make polycarbonate plastics and epoxy resins):

“The NTP has “some concern“ for BPA’s effects on the brain, behavior, and prostate gland in fetuses, infants, and children at current exposure levels. The NTP has “minimal concern“ for effects on the mammary gland and an earlier age for puberty in females, fetuses, infants, and children at current exposure levels.” Source: https://www.niehs.nih.gov/health/materials/bisphenol_a_bpa_508.pdf

A Newsweek article states “hand sanitizers (as well as other cosmetic products like hand lotions) contain chemicals the make the skin more permeable to various substances, including BPA, says study author and University of Missouri researcher Frederick vom Saal. The study found that hand sanitizers could increase the absorption of BPA into the body by a factor of 100 or more.” Source: https://www.newsweek.com/hand-sanitizer-speed-absorption-bpa-receipts-279232

Alcohol-based hand sanitizers are generally considered safe. However, since alcohol is drying to the skin, most hand sanitizers include some type of moisturizer. Continuously using it like I do makes my hands feel sticky. I do wash my hands at the sink as much as possible but I can’t do that after every patient, transaction, or clipboard.

I have accepted an Americorps VISTA Public School Partnership position that I start next month. I will be working with kids in public schools. I anticipate using a lot of hand sanitizer during my year of service in this position, but I am also looking forward to getting some valuable experience in the education part of my bachelor’s degree.

The solution: Homemade hand sanitizer

I have found two recipes for hand sanitizer that have safe and effective ingredients which can easily be found at a local health food store or online.

The first one is a spray hand sanitizer that I found at https://wholefully.com/homemade-hand-sanitizer/. The recipe is as follows:

  1. 2 ounce spray bottle
  2. 5 drops vitamin E oil (optional, this makes for soft hands!)
  3. 2 tablespoons witch hazel with aloe vera or vodka
  4. 5 drops lemon essential oil
  5. 5 drops orange essential oil
  6. 5 drops tea tree essential oil
  7. Distilled (or at least filtered, boiled, and cooled) water

I am currently on my third bottle of this in about three weeks. I went with witch hazel over vodka. The tea tree essential oil overpowers the citrus scent but it is also a powerful antiseptic. I use this at work and my hands aren’t sticky at all. I also spray it in my work space if a sick person comes around. I re-purposed an empty, dark-colored glass bottle that once had colloidal silver in it and it works perfectly! If you visit the link above, they also provide a printable label that can be put on the bottle.

The second hand sanitizer recipe can be found at https://www.diynatural.com/homemade-hand-sanitizer/ and the recipe is:

  • 5-10 drops lavender essential oil
  • 30 drops tea tree essential oil
  • 1 Tablespoon witch hazel extract or high-proof vodka
  • 8 ounces 100% pure aloe vera gel
  • ¼ teaspoon Vitamin E oil – a natural preservative to increase shelf life (It will also help soften hands!)

I have yet to try this recipe but I plan to! I like that both of these recipes use tea tree oil. It is my favorite essential oil because it kills MRSA.

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10 MRSA Treatment Ideas That Worked

For the complete story, watch for the re-release of “The Fear, The Fight, and The Cure; A MRSA Success Story” coming back soon!

Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is a staph infection that is resistant to most antibiotics. It usually causes severe skin infections in the form of an abscess, or boil. It is very painful, contagious and hard to get rid of. CA-MRSA, or Community Acquired MRSA is becoming more common in healthy people. There are also a growing number of people who are carriers of MRSA who don’t know they have it because they have not had any infections. MRSA likes to colonize in the nose. MRSA can also enter the bloodstream. This is a much more serious, life-threatening form of MRSA. It can cause blood poisoning, abscesses on organs and a life-threatening drop in blood pressure. The infection can spread to bone marrow, lungs (causing pneumonia), tissues around the brain and spinal cord (causing menengitis), or the tissue surrounding the heart.

MRSA is not a germ to take lightly.

Originally posted on Aug. 10, 2011:

Several years ago my family needed effective MRSA treatment options. Fighting MRSA was such a nightmare! I couldn’t imagine having to deal with this long term. Here’s a list of what worked for us.

Ten Effective MRSA Treatment Options:

1. SEE A DOCTOR: MRSA is commonly mistaken for a spider bite. If you have an abscess that starts out similar to a pimple, but grows really fast, see a doctor as soon as possible. Make sure they take a sample and have it analyzed to be sure you get antibiotics that the MRSA is sensitive to. MRSA treatment is completely ineffective if you don’t get the right antibiotics!

2. DON’T TOUCH YOUR NOSE: MRSA likes to colonize in your nose. You don’t want to put it there if it’s not there already. Also, you don’t want to spread it if it’s already there. There are creams available by prescription to treat the inside of your nose. Be sure to ask your doctor about this.

3. WEAR GLOVES: MRSA is contagious!! Be sure to protect yourself by wearing rubber gloves when changing bandages, handling dirty laundry, or cleaning in general. You can’t be too careful.

4. WATERPROOF BANDAGES: Cover the wound with some type of waterproof bandage that will seal it all the way around. Tegaderm bandages work well. This will prevent leakage from the wound that will contaminate clothes, furniture, or anything it may come in contact with. This also helps prevent spreading of the germs while in the shower.

5. SANITIZE EVERYTHING: Since you are battling an invisible enemy, the best MRSA prevention treatment is to just sanitize everything. A solution of one part bleach to 10 parts water works well. Scrub all cabinets inside and out, counter tops, walls, floors, tables, chairs, and any other surfaces that could have been contaminated. Check the labels on cleaning supplies for those that kill MRSA. Tea tree essential oil kills MRSA and the doTerra brand OnGuard cleaner is another good option. Some type of sanitizing spray that is safe for upholstered furniture, mattresses, pillows, carpet, etc. should be used. Don’t forget the car. Spray all upholstery and carpets in all vehicles. Be very thorough. It is a lot of work to do but it’s worth it. Any areas used by the infected person should be sanitized daily. Showers and toilets used by the infected person should be sanitized after each use to prevent spreading it to other people.

6. LAUNDRY: As part of the cleaning process, all of the sheets and blankets in the house should be washed. Towels, especially those used by the infected person should be washed after each use in bleach. If you don’t have white towels, get some inexpensive ones. The bleach will wear them out quickly anyway. Add a little tea tree oil to the water in your wash loads that can’t be bleached. Tea tree oil is a natural antibacterial agent that is available at health food stores and it doesn’t ruin your clothes.

7. HEAT PACKS VS. SITZ BATHS: Sitz baths are recommended as part of the MRSA treatment process because heat draws more blood to the surface of the skin and aids the healing process. Sitting in a tub of water with a highly contagious infection is very unsanitary. Also, the bathtub has to be sanitized afterwards and there will be more towels to wash. Heat packs are much more efficient and don’t have to be expensive. Cheap tube socks filled with white rice (not instant) and tied in a knot at the top can be heated in the microwave (about 1-2 minutes). Be careful not to get it too hot. You do not want to burn the skin and cause further injury. Put the heated rice pack into a zipper seal plastic bag and place over the bandaged wound for about 5 to 10 minutes. When finished, throw the plastic bag away. When the wound is healed you can also throw the rice filled sock away.

8. EFFECTIVE OVER THE COUNTER MRSA TREATMENTS: Mattherma is an ointment that is effective in healing MRSA skin infections. It contains tea tree oil as well as many other herbs and oils that are effective in healing the skin and contain natural antibacterial properties. Skinsure Ultra is a skin cream that kills MRSA and protects against it for up to three hours. The company is based in England. Orders can be shipped to the United States.

9. GET RID OF ALL BAR SOAPS: Bar soaps can harbor bacteria. Throw all bar soaps away and switch to liquid soap. Hibiclens, which is a surgical scrub, can be purchased and used to aid the fight against MRSA. It is harsh and should be used sparingly.

10. DON’T BE AFRAID TO THROW THINGS AWAY: It’s easier to replace things than it is to fight more infections. Any questionable items such as razors, ointments, lotions, face wash, etc. that were used by the infected person prior to the diagnosis, should be disposed of. It’s impossible to know if any germs have been transmitted into these items from the infected person’s hands. Trash should be double bagged and tied at the top to prevent exposure to others.

These may seem like extreme MRSA treatment measures, but it is well worth the effort. We have been MRSA free since 2006.

A good nutritional supplement can make all the difference in boosting your body’s ability to fight infections such as MRSA. Reliv products are excellent nutritional supplements that can be effective for MRSA treatment.

Here’s what Reliv did for Louise:

“This fall, in October, I had an accident where I had an incision in my head which was stitched up and a month later I came down with MRSA. I was hospitalized and had surgery to remove an abscess. I was put on IV Vancomycin. I was taking Reliv faithfully and consistently throughout my stay in the hospital. What was remarkable is that within four days I was out of the hospital, off the Vancomycin and they could not find any trace of MRSA on my skin or in my blood! I also healed in half the time my doctor expected me to. My doctor attributes it to my optimal health. I attribute my optimal health to Reliv.”  –Louise C., Bremerton, WA

For more information about Reliv’s whole nutrition products, contact pam@germfighting.com.

 

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Past Post: Hotel Rooms, A Necessary Evil

Here’s a past post that is perfect for the summer (or any) travel season.

Originally posted July 7, 2012

When I was young, I liked staying in hotels. It was an adventure staying in new places, and it still is to a degree. Now, I consider hotels, motels, and inns something to be endured if you travel. Ideally, I would like to have a big truck that could haul a big camping trailer so I can bring my own “hotel room” with me.

I recently returned from a cross-country trip to visit my Mom and other relatives. I stayed with relatives as much as possible since staying in someone’s home is much cleaner than staying in a hotel. It was also free. On the way east, our first stop was a hotel in Goodland, Kansas. This was a low budget trip so I booked the least expensive hotels I could find. Customer reviews on this hotel said that it was old but clean, good for a sleep and go. That’s all I wanted anyway. Well, it was old, which doesn’t bother me, but it wasn’t particularly clean, which does bother me. Actually, the place was a dump. The first thing I did in every hotel room was a bed bug inspection. Fortunately, they all passed.

Our second stop was a hotel in Chesterfield, Missouri. My daughter attended an event at Logan College of Chiropractic there and the school paid for two nights in a hotel. We stayed at the Drury Inn and Suites. It was the nicest hotel we stayed at during the entire trip. Everything seemed clean, although certain precautions need to be taken at any hotel like wiping the remote control, checking for bed bugs, etc. They served a hot breakfast and also a dinner. The only thing missing was hand sanitizer in the food area. You have to handle all of the utensils to serve your food. I used my own hand sanitizer. None of the hotels I stayed in had hand sanitizer in the food areas.

After Chesterfield, MO, I arrived at my Mom’s house and stayed there for almost a week. Her house is spotless, nothing to worry about there. Over the weekend, we drove to West Virginia for a family reunion. We stayed at a hotel in Lewisburg, WV. It was a decent hotel room but I noticed that there was still soap residue in the shower and the shower curtain was rather gross. I wish I had remembered to bring some flip-flops or water shoes for the shower. We stayed two nights there. I left a $5 tip for the maid and a note asking her to change the sheets and pillowcases since the kids had knocked them onto the floor. The room was much cleaner that day and she actually put a new shower curtain in too! A little bribery and gratitude never hurts.

On the way home, we again stayed in low budget hotels. It looked like the cleaning staff only changed the sheets (hopefully), wiped the counters and bathroom fixtures and vacuumed. They didn’t even vacuum between the nightstand and the bed or next to the bed that is close to the wall. There were splatters down the walls from spilled drinks and the carpets in general were filthy. My daughter came up with a good idea. She took the plastic off of one of the cups and put it over the remote control (I couldn’t be more proud!). My younger kids walked around on the carpet for just a few minutes in their socks and they turned brown on the bottom. Ewww!

I am glad to be back in my own home and my own bed.

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100 Year Anniversary of the Flu Pandemic

It has been 100 years since the world has seen a deadly pandemic on the level of the Spanish Flu of 1918 that killed an estimated 50 to 100 million people worldwide. Most of the deaths were caused by a secondary bacterial pneumonia. The Spanish Flu was caused by an H1N1 virus with avian origin. For reasons still unknown, this particular flu had a higher death rate among the young and healthy.

In 2009, there was an outbreak of H1N1 originating with swine, better known as the Swine Flu. This pandemic killed an estimated 151,700 to 575,400 people worldwide, with the majority of deaths in underdeveloped countries in Africa and Southeast Asia. Again, the majority of deaths were in younger populations under the age of 65. Although antibiotics have some drawbacks and side effects, they saved countless lives by treating the potentially deadly secondary infections.

Wouldn’t it be nice if the world could go another 100 years without the emergence of another deadly pandemic? This is where the “germ fighting” process comes in. The most effective way to stop the spread of germs is to wash your hands thoroughly and often. Be aware of the surfaces you touch. Avoid touching your face, especially in public places where your hands are likely to come into contact with contaminated surfaces.

Be aware. Be safe. Stay healthy.

 

 

Sources:

https://www.cdc.gov/flu/pandemic-resources/1918-commemoration/1918-pandemic-history.htm

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3180813/

https://www.cdc.gov/flu/spotlights/pandemic-global-estimates.htm

http://www.who.int/csr/disease/swineflu/frequently_asked_questions/pandemic/en/

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Zombie-Like Plague – Fact or Science Fiction?

Over the years, there have been many books, TV shows and movies that depict pandemic-proportion plagues that practically destroy the human race by turning people into zombie-like creatures. For example, in The Maze Runner (books and movies), by James Dashner, a man-made biological weaponized virus is released that turns people into zombie-like “cranks.” The virus becomes airborne and there’s no stopping it. Even building a wall around a city doesn’t keep it out. The human race’s only hope is a group of people who are naturally immune.

There are other films such as I Am Legend, Contagion, Outbreak, etc. that portray pandemic-level destruction of the human race. There are TV shows including iZombie, The Walking Dead, Z Nation, etc. The question of the day is: “Are these works of fiction or a glimpse of future possibilities?”

According to the CDC, there have been three major pandemic-level plagues in recorded history:

“The Justinian Plague

The first recorded pandemic, the Justinian Plague, was named after the 6th century Byzantine emperor Justinian I. The Justinian Plague began in 541 AD and was followed by frequent outbreaks over the next two hundred years that eventually killed over 25 million people (Rosen, 2007) and affected much of the Mediterranean basin–virtually all of the known world at that time.

“Black Death” or the Great Plague

The second pandemic, widely known as the “Black Death” or the Great Plague, originated in China in 1334 and spread along the great trade routes to Constantinople and then to Europe, where it claimed an estimated 60% of the European population (Benedictow, 2008). Entire towns were wiped out. Some contemporary historians report that on occasion, there were not enough survivors remaining to bury the dead (Gross, 1995). Despite the vast devastation caused by this pandemic, however, massive labor shortages due to high mortality rates sped up the development of many economic, social, and technical modernizations (Benedictow, 2008). It has even been considered a factor in the emergence of the Renaissance in the late 14th century.

Modern Plague

The third pandemic, the Modern Plague, began in China in the 1860s and appeared in Hong Kong by 1894. Over the next 20 years, it spread to port cities around the world by rats on steamships. The pandemic caused approximately 10 million deaths (Khan, 2004). During this last pandemic, scientists identified the causative agent as a bacterium and determined that plague is spread by infectious flea bites. Rat-associated plague was soon brought under control in most urban areas, but the infection easily spread to local populations of ground squirrels and other small mammals in the Americas, Africa, and Asia. These new species of carriers have allowed plague to become endemic in many rural areas, including the western U.S.

However, as a bacterial disease, plague can be treated with antibiotics, and can be prevented from spreading by prompt identification, treatment and management of human cases. Applications of effective insecticides to control the flea vectors also provide assistance in controlling plague.”

Source: https://www.cdc.gov/plague/history/index.html

Will There Be More?

Considering the current existence of superbugs that are resistant to antibiotics and weaponized biological agents, it is likely that another pandemic will happen in the, hopefully distant, future. This post isn’t meant to be about gloom and doom. There are things that can be done now to protect yourself. Start by forming good hygiene habits, particularly hand-washing. Be aware of what you touch and don’t spread germs to your face or open wounds. Learn as much as you can about antimicrobial substances, such as essential oils, colloidal silver, vinegar, honey, etc. (there will be future posts with more details). There is no guarantee that these will be effective against every virus or bacteria in existence but it certainly isn’t going to hurt to have the knowledge. You never know, maybe you’ll need it someday. Meanwhile, have fun reading, watching TV, and going to movies!

 

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A New Beginning

I have spent four of the last six years working hard to get a Bachelor of Science degree in Health Education and Promotion with an emphasis in Community Health, and also becoming a Certified Health Education Specialist. I also served as president of the Nontraditional Student Association, went on a study abroad to Thailand, and interned at a local health department. Unfortunately, this blog/website has been severely neglected in the process.

After graduating, I went on to spend the last two years trying to find a job within my field only to have my hopes and dreams repeatedly crushed by people who don’t even know me.  I went from feeling elated and accomplished to feeling like a complete loser. Well, no more! I am in charge of my own success and I am DONE giving others that kind of power over my life. Enough is enough. I am hiring myself because I know what I am capable of.

I chose the degree that I have because of a family experience fighting MRSA (methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus). MRSA is a drug-resistant staph infection that is highly contagious and very hard to beat. I am happy to say that we did ultimately overcome it and have had no relapses in over ten years.

My main interest in health promotion has to do with preventing the spread of all infectious diseases, including MRSA. This blog/website will be rebuilt based on all aspects of prevention, such as nutrition, boosting immunity, germ avoidance, airborne illnesses, etc. Optimum health is essential in fighting off infections. When it comes to infectious diseases, for the most part, they are preventable. When prevention fails, there are ways to minimize illness. Our purpose is to educate and inform so that you can be well and stay well.

 

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