Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Dirt Does a Body Good - The Hygiene Hypothesis

Open your bag that sits beside you.  If you're like my mom, me, or countless other Americans, you probably have hand sanitizer sitting there.  And guess what? That might be why you're sneezing this spring.

When I was young, I really didn't have a lot of contact with animals or with other kids.  My mother was fastidious about keeping our house not only tidy, but clean.  Dust seems to offend my mother, so it just has never been present.  Seeing as I didn't have my brother to contribute to mess-making until I was much older, I lived a fairly sanitized life.

My husband on the other hand did not.  He had two older sisters, one younger, and all of them were active.  Add a large water dog to the mix and suddenly you have a recipe for beach sand scrubs, creek muck body masks, and tons of exposure to various pathogens and allergens.  Needless to say, the lucky bastard doesn't have any allergies.  But I do - they're mostly mild, but still I have them. 

Allergies don't really run in my family.  Neither of my parents have allergies to anything airborne or eaten.  My mother grew up in the country and my dad grew up in a smoky city.  Apparently, that's the reason why.  There is increasing evidence suggesting exposure to dirt keeps you from being allergic to things.    Children exposed to farm animals and pets in their first year of life tend to have fewer allergies than those who are not exposed. So the moral of the story, let your kid eat dirt. Let them put things in their mouths that are not meant to be in mouths. 

Unfortunately this trick won't help those of us who already HAVE allergies.  We have to suck it up and deal as best we can.  I for one, will be taking hot showers, downing decongestant, and if I could find my neti pot, I'd do regular nasal rinses. I suggest you do the same... *sniff.* 

No comments:

Post a Comment