Disinfectant is everywhere during these times of heightened cleanliness. Even shopping and parcels are disinfected with spray or wipes as they come into our homes. The downside of being super-careful is that we're in contact with more chemicals too. Last week I realised I was suffering from symptoms of an overload of chemical disinfectant.
Symptoms of Disinfectant Overload
- Headaches or migraines
- Nasal and sinus congestion
- A sore throat
- Fatigue and tiredness
- ‘Foggy’ thinking or an inability to think clearly
- Change in mood, such as feeling ‘low’ or irritable.
Symptoms of disinfectant overload or toxicity can take several days to ease, and it’s important to be careful so that the peculiar headache and other problems don’t return. The way to do this is by taking steps to cut down the amount of product that's inhaled or absorbed through the skin, so that the load on the body is reduced (see more on Toxic Load below).
Tips to Reduce Symptoms of Disinfectant Overload
- Wear a mask and rubber gloves when spraying disinfectant
- Don’t spray disinfectant into the air, loosely cover the spray nozzle with a cloth (or wipe) and spray into the cloth to clean surfaces
- Ventilate: open windows and create air flow so that the chemical droplets or fumes aren’t inhaled
- Leave windows open a little all the time to increase ventilation, where possible
- Rinse your hands well after the usual '30 second' wash with disinfectant soap, to reduce absorption of chemicals through the skin
More Natural ways to Reduce Toxicity
Stay hydrated: water flushes toxins out of the system, and provides more protection for mucous membranes in your nose and throat by making them wetter. Find out how much water to drink in the article here
Vitamin C paired with Selenium chelates toxins such as heavy metals and transports them out of the body.
Use specific detoxification products. Herbs and other natural products actively remove toxins. They should always be used after checking with your doctor, or with the advice of a qualified health professional such as a Naturopath or Medical Herbalist.
Saunas encourage toxin removal through the skin – though sweat should be regularly showered off in warm water to avoid any toxins present in the sweat being re-absorbed. Even though you might not have access to a sauna right now, it’s worth remembering their health benefit for the future.
Toxic load refers to the amount of toxins that are present in the body at any one time. Toxins are chemicals or foreign substances that affect the way the body works, and they are notoriously difficult for the body to process and remove.
Often we don’t notice the small amounts that we ingest in the course of normal life, but symptoms start to appear in times such as these, when everyone is using so many more chemicals than usual, which creates disinfectant overload and sometimes a sensitivity. That’s when symptoms such as headaches or a stuffy nose start to appear.
A more complete solution is to look at your cleaning and personal products as a whole. It’s the total amount used in daily life that causes a high toxic load. Though chemicals in a single product may be classified as safe, the combination of many chemicals over years is impossible to test.
Even perfume in products are chemicals, and can render an otherwise ‘green lit’ product as potentially problematic. I use the Environmental Working Group's Skin Deep Database to check products.
Long term exposure to chemicals causes disruption within the body by affecting gene expression and the way the body works. The chemicals in disinfectant; such as Cetrimide, interfere with energy production in cells* by attaching to the membranes of the mitochondria within the cells and reducing ATP production.**
Read more about staying healthy, and detoxifying naturally: Food is Better Medicine than Drugs, by Patrick Holford. Piatkus. ISBN: 978-0-7499-2797-4
*Source: Data sheet, Uses and Sources of CTAB, Acumen Ltd.