Staphylococcus aureus is a bacterium that commonly colonises human skin and mucosa (e.g. inside the nose) without causing any problems. It can also cause disease, particularly if there is an opportunity for the bacteria to enter the body, for example through broken skin or a medical procedure. If the bacteria enter the body, illnesses which range from mild to life-threatening may then develop. These include skin and wound infections, infected eczema, abscesses or joint infections, infections of the heart valves (endocarditis), pneumonia and bacteraemia (blood stream infection). Staphylococcus aureus also produces toxins that can cause food poisoning, and have been linked with toxic shock syndrome.
Campylobacter is the commonest reported bacterial cause of infectious intestinal disease in England and Wales. Illness is characterised by severe diarrhoea and abdominal pain. Undercooked meat (especially poultry) is often associated with this illness, as is unpasteurised milk and untreated water. The majority of infections, however, remain unexplained by recognised risk factors for disease.
Escherichia coli (commonly referred to as E. coli) is a species of bacteria commonly found in the intestines of humans and animals. There are many different types of E. coli, and while some live in the intestine quite harmlessly, others may cause a variety of diseases. The bacterium is found in faeces and can survive in the environment.
Listeria is a rare but potentially life-threatening disease. Healthy adults are likely to experience only mild infection, causing flu-like symptoms or gastroenteritis. Pregnant women, the elderly and people with weakened immune systems are more susceptible to listeria. It is particularly dangerous in pregnancy – although the illness is unlikely to be serious for the mother, it can cause miscarriage, premature delivery or severe illness in a newborn child.
I strongly believe that exposure to natural microorganisms is important in order to build a strong immune system and we should not over-sanitise our infants. However, I try not to expose my child to the horrible cocktail of bacteria that is present on our shopping trolleys.
I carry a homemade antibacterial solution in my handbag. It only takes a few seconds to spray and wipe the handle.
Below is a recipe that I have formulated; the oils I use each have individual properties, which make them great choices for an antibacterial spray.
- Lavender: anti-infectious, anti-septic, anti-viral, anti-bacterial,
- Eucalyptus: anti-infectious, anti-septic, anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal
- Tea tree: anti-infectious, anti-septic, anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal