My mother is the healthiest woman I know. To my knowledge, she has never been sick. At least as far back as I can remember she always was the one to avoid the different bacterial and viral infections. Even if the entire house were to be sick she would nurse us all back to health never concerned by her own health. What is crazy is she is not a real germaphobe or anything. I mean, her house clean and organized, but she never was the type of person that had to have everything pristine. She loved it and found it comical when we would play in mud as kids, dip up worms to keep as pets, or go through other people on junk day to find throwaway treasures. Of course she made sure we all washed our hands before eating and stuff but that was just about it.
Especially because my father ran the Grand Rapids Tree Service company that did a lot of work outside it was very important for us to have clean safe home.
I always wonder why or how she kept from getting sick. I have friends with their own children who are overly concern with germs and diseases. It seems like every other week their dragging their crying children to the pediatrician for some vaccine of some sorts. They keep their homes and children super clean, shoot, a few of mind friends will not allow their children to play outside in the dirt for fear they will catch something. Crazy I know. What is worst is that all their attempt to keep the kids clean and free of infections, is for naught. Every one of them have the most sickly children I have ever seen. It is always something with their kids’ health. I want to say stop trying so hard, give the poor little immune system a chance to develop and strengthen. Nevertheless, I always restrain myself because of my lack of progeny; I do not want to overstep my bounds.
One day I was visiting my parents and I had a cold. In between the sniffling and the sneezing, I ask my mum what she attributes her healthy immune system to. She paused what she was doing and visibly started to think. After a few moments of silence, she said that as a child her parents had a farm with all sorts of animals on it, that her and her siblings used to wake up early every morning to help. She went to say that she believe that her constant exposure filth and animals, along with the hearty meals my Nana provided them, gave her immune system strength and vitality, which allowed her to get the tree trimming job saving my father from night time chores he gripes about everyday.
What she said made sense to me, so I did a little research to see if there was any scientific proof beyond what she reasoned for herself. I discovered there is a theory in the science world known as The Hygiene Hypothesis. It is believed that as we expose ourselves in our earlier years of life our immune receive an education of sorts. It develops and learns how to combat wide variety of ailments. Building up its disease and infection-fighting arsenal if you will.
It makes me wonder what about how much to expose my children too whenever I decide to settle down and have them. It also makes me question the usefulness of, what seems to me like hundreds, of vaccine these medical administration have convince us that our children needs. Like after hundreds of years of people inhabiting this planet the body has suddenly forgotten how to do its job.