Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Our Germaphobic Lifestyle

So this topic may be a little controversial, but I'm OK with that.  I firmly believe that this topic is necessary to be addressed.  And that topic is the fact that we, in general, are so afraid of any germs that we try to kill all of them without even thinking about it.

Because of what we've been told by western medicine, we need to kill the germs to stay healthy.  Use hand sanitizer religiously, wash your hands before and after you eat, don't eat that off the floor, etc. is what we hear all the time.  The fact of the matter is that germs are actually good for you.  If you remember my previous blog about probiotics or gut bacteria, this isn't the first time that I've preached pro bugs.  With these germs though, it's a little bit different.

At any given point in time, a healthy person actually has thousands to millions of germs living on or in them.  Most of the time though, they're not sick.  Why?  Because your immune system is working.  When your immune system is subjected to germs, it can build up a natural immunity to those germs, thus, making you healthier.  You can ask my wife.  One of my favorite things to say is that "It's building your immune system".  That's why I don't care if my apple slice just fell on the floor, it's still good.  That's also why I don't mind if my 14 month old son sticks dirt or bugs in his mouth.  It will build up his immune system.

However, possibly the most important reason to not be so germaphobic is because of something called "super bugs".  You see, whenever you use something minor like hand sanitizer or some heavy hitter like a broad spectrum antibiotic, you're killing most of the germs.  Most, not all.  That's the kicker.  Some of those bugs are genetically resistant to the sanitizer or antibiotic.  These "super bugs" live, multiply, and spread.  That's why we have been having trouble getting newer, better, more powerful antibiotics and why there are thing like MRSA.  It's because we are so germaphobic and try to kill off every little germ.  And these "super bugs" are very serious and life-threatening.

Of course, I'm not telling you to sneeze into your hands when you're sick then shake as many hands as you can or don't wash your hands after using the rest room.  Just don't reach for the hand sanitizer every time you walk by someone who coughed or don't go running to the pediatrician for amoxycillin every time you think your child might have an ear infection.  Germs are good for you.  They build up your immune system.

1 comment:

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