- Personal Health Information & Self-Help
Why Your Immune System Is Weak
Mud pies. Playing with the dog. Hugging the cat. The drinking fountain. The playground. Trading food in the cafeteria. Sharing a fountain drink. Holding hands. The 5 second rule.
All of these things have one thing in common. When practiced, they spread germs and bacteria. Is this a bad thing? I mean when you think about all the nasty germs and bacteria involved in each of these things, it's really gross.
Who knows what that dog or cat has been rolling in, what sickly kid drank from that fountain… Ewww, what if the sick kid actually touched part of the fountain instead of just drinking the water as it comes out?
Oh my gosh, the playground where all those snotty little kids play, and I bet there is some blood from their cuts somewhere, too.
Trading food in the cafeteria? What if mom with messed up hair, in her old, pink, terrycloth robe, standing in her red fuzzy slippers had been up all night rushing to the bathroom has bagged that sandwich?
Why would anyone want to drink from the same straw? To prove their friendship? What if your friend was French kissing her tobacco chewing boyfriend before you go to Sonic, and she sweetly says, “Try this!” handing you the cup? Disgusting! Or what if they had been holding hands and he didn't wash his hands after taking a pee? Gag!
And the 5 second rule? Did you see that floor? What was that sticky spot of green next to the sink?
Do our bodies need to be exposed to germs and bacteria in order to boost our immune system? As gross as some of these examples are, the answer is yes. It does not mean you need to live in filth. It also means that we have no idea when we are exposed to germs and bacteria, and thank God for that or we would all be obsessive compulsive messes.
It seems that the immune system and how it works depends on its exposure to germs and bacteria, which helps us fight off many illnesses and allergies. The earlier the exposure, the better.
Over-Sanitizing to Kill Germs and Bacteria
Young parents bring home their new baby. They have cleaned and sanitized everything from the sheets for the bassinet to the bottles and nipples. Some parents believe the microwave kills germs and bacteria and will even microwave blankets, sheets, and clothing.
What is the result of all these practices? The child gets used to a near-germ-free atmosphere then goes out into the world and is hit by germs that are natural to the population but because the child has been protected from these germs, their immune system is attacked. They become ill more easily. They may be sickly most of their lives if they are constantly “protected” from germs and bacteria.
Parents need to realize there is such thing as a healthy dose of germs and bacteria. You don’t have to clean everything the child touches. Teach the child to wash his or her hands before eating. Some would say to wash hands each time after they play with their toys. No, no, no. Their immune systems are becoming stronger by being in contact with those everyday germs and bacteria. The child is building up defenses. Yes, as toddlers, everything goes into their mouth. Unless you live like pigs, there is not much need to be concerned. You do want to know what the child puts in his mouth so he won’t choke, and you want to keep all harmful cleaning supplies, litter boxes, and plants out of the child’s reach.
Being the over-protective parent is going to do more damage to your child in the long run. If your kid doesn’t eat some dirt, she’s not normal. Common sense is all that is needed.
Society's Obsession with Killing Germs and Bacteria
Wash your hands! Cover your mouth when you cough! Antibacterial hand sanitizers. Antibacterial tissues.
Are these good things to teach our children and to practice? Absolutely.
Do we take “precautions” too far at times? Yes, often.
As a high school teacher, I see kids use antibacterial hand sanitizer 3 to 4 times during a class period. The school requires teachers to keep hand sanitizer in each room. While I am sure it does help prevent illness from being spread, it also causes an unnatural fear of germs and bacteria with our students. Overuse prevents the kid from building an immunity to harmful germs and bacteria, and it seems when the cold and flu season comes along, these “over-concerned” kids are absent because they are sick.
They have become obsessive compulsive when it comes to keeping clean. Some students have red, raw hands from constantly washing their hands with soap and water and/or using the alcohol-based hand sanitizers.
I have even witnessed students jumping out of the way to avoid others (who are sometimes sick, sometimes not), fearing they will expose themselves to germs and bacteria. I have seen kids who have held their breath until they get through a crowd in the hallway.
Of course, when I hear a croupy cough or see an uncovered sneeze, I have held my breath too after turning my head aside and giving the teacher directive, “Cover your mouth.”
Just using common sense without being obsessive compulsively clean will help keep us stay healthy.
How Germs and Bacteria Spread
Germs and bacteria spread simply by our breathing in and out. When I breathe out, my germs go into your breathing space.
Germs and bacteria are spread by touching anything and everything. Door knobs, pencils, computers, clothing, humans, animals, and on and on. We cannot live in a bubble. We cannot try to put our kids in a bubble.
None of us can avoid them.
Common Sense Rules
Over-protecting yourself and your children from germs and bacteria is causing more damage to the body’s immune system. Studies have shown that a healthy building of germs and bacteria in our systems help us fight illness and ward off allergies. Using common sense and allowing a natural build up to germs and bacteria will enhance the immune system. A healthier life and fewer visits to the doctor’s office will result and saved you a lot of time and money.
SHolland10 is not suggesting you ignore illness or allergic reactions. Because we cannot avoid germs and bacteria, we will sometimes become sick. Seek a physician’s help.
Common Sense, Germaphobe, or OCD
Which do you consider yourself to be?
Some Famous Germaphobes
Howard Hughes - he would refuse to see people because he feared their germs and bacteria.
Howie Mandel - admits to be obsessive compulsive (OCD) and continually washes his hands. He adds it to his comedy.
Donald Trump - He refuses to shake hands.
Glenn Beck - He admits he is a germaphone.
Cameron Diaz - She admits to opening doors with her elbows.
Common sense or germaphobia?
© 2012 Susan Holland