Cold & Flu Activity

Are colds and flu on the rise near you? Check the activity in your area

Reviewed by Michael Smith on November 02, 2015


Andrea C. Gore, PhD, professor and Vacek Chair of Pharmacology, University of Texas at Austin; chair, Endocrine Society Statement on Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals, Austin, TX. Richard Stahlhut, MD, visiting research scientist, University of Missouri-Columbia. The Endocrine Society, Scientific Statement, Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals, Sept. 28, 2015. The American Chemistry Council. Bloomberg News. Bruce Hammock, PhD, distinguished professor of entomology, University of California Davis Center for Vectorborne Diseases. Aaron Glatt, MD, spokesman, Infectious Diseases Society of America; executive vice president, Mercy Medical Center, Rockville Center, Long Island, N.Y. Statement, American Cleaning Institute and Personal Care Products Council, Dec. 16, 2013. News release, FDA. Andrea Fischer, spokeswoman, FDA. Healthday: " Minnesota Bans Anti-Bacterial Chemical Triclosan in Soaps."

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Video Transcript

MICHAEL SMITH, MD: Does antibacterial soap make you feel extra clean and protected?

Well, turns out a chemical in these soaps could actually be making things worse.

The germ-killing chemical is called triclosan, and a study has linked it to diabetes, obesity, heart disease, and even infertility.

The chemical is found in about 75% of antibacterial soaps in the US.

So what can you do?

It's actually pretty easy.

Stop using antibacterial soap.

It doesn't get rid of bacteria any more than regular soap and water, which means it won't protect you any better from getting sick.

And it doesn't make your kitchen or bathroom any cleaner, either.

Some researchers even think using antibacterial soap may contribute to the rise of superbugs-- bacteria that can't be killed by antibiotics.

Now that's dangerous.

You can rest easy that a good old fashioned soap and water are enough to keep you clean.

For WebMD, I'm Dr. Michael Smith.