Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Germ Warfare: Nature is THE BOMB!

Germs are bad, right? Not so fast, there.

There's a new bad guy in the fight against illness, and it isn't a micro-organism, virus or prion (the things that cause BSE [mad cow disease] and  Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease (CJD) disease). It's hygiene.

When good immune systems go bad...
The Hygiene Hypothesis is the idea that too much hygiene, being too clean and too not-sick, at too young an age leads to the immune system having not enough to do, so it doesn't work as well.

Sometimes the immune system gets all wonky and results in allergies or even (some speculate) autism. Sometimes it means you don't get the bacteria in your intestines that helps digest food (eating issues anyone?). Sometimes it shuts off completely.

An episode of House in Season 6 resulted in a diagnosis of over-hygiene, or low-functioning immune system (extra-intestinal Crohn's, they called it). Additionally, CNN and Parenting magazine have both done articles talking about the positives of adequate germ exposure (here and here).

Love bugs!
So what does this mean to pagan parents? Well, if Mother Nature (the Goddess) did us right, we should live a more natural lifestyle, embracing not only the seasons, plants and animals, but also the tiny living creatures that we need to live healthy natural lives. That's right: Love nature, love germs!
Aren't they cute?!?

We are made to be little micro-bug hosts, using some germs to practice our martial-immuno-battles on, using some germs to help digest or process certain foods, and using some germs to become immune to bigger, badder things.

Love your kids; get them infected!


  1. As a person who eschews the use of hand sanitizer (except when no washing facilities are available... like after changing a diaper while camping, for example) who thinks that nursing your baby is a brilliant immune booster, and generally believes that everyone is entirely too freaked out about germs, I would add only one note: The VERY young child (say, under 3 months old or so) doesn't necessarily benefit from lots of cooties. What's your take on kids who aren't over sanitized but still don't seem to get sick very often, and when they do, it rarely lasts more than a day or two? Made of tougher stuff, or up for some hurt in the future?

  2. "kids who aren't over sanitized but still don't seem to get sick very often, and when they do, it rarely lasts more than a day or two"

    Actually, that was exactly what I was talking about.