Monday, April 20, 2009

Why Dirt is Good....

  • You know... I don't normally do "book reviews" but I happened to check this book out at the library and it is a GREAT book. I'm almost voting it to be a book distributed to new moms and dads everywhere when their children are born.
  • Personally, I have always advocated for my children in terms of dirt, and by dirt, I mean germs. It's nice to see it all summed up very nicely in an "easy reader" book for the average person. It's not a medical book, it's not a lab book, and it's not a medical journal. It's a book that lays it all out for you and answers a lot of questions for you. The beginning of it is a bit of scientific info (transalation= boring) about the immune system but once you get beyond that.... it's excellent.
  • Some highlights from the book:
  • 1. The author explains that building immunity starts right from conception, and kick starts at birth. it is vital for the fetus to pass through the birth canal for it's first exposure to germs. Hence, unnecessary C-sections should be avoided at all costs.
  • 2. The author advocates for breastfeeding. Breastfeeding helps to build infant immunity by passing along maternal antibodies. Breastfeeding reduces diarrheal infections, ear infections, respiratory infections, atopic dermatitis, and most significantly, allergies.
  • 3. It explains the "Hygiene hypothesis".... which essentially means that the MORE exposure to germs that a young child has, the more exercise their immune system gets, and the healthier they will be in the long run.
  • 4. Parents: STOP USING ANTIBACTERIAL SOAPS AND HAND SANITIZER AS IF ITS A MIRACLE CURE FOR ALL. All this does is make the germs we encounter in everyday life become "superbugs".... which means they will evolve to live beyond all our sanitizing craziness. If you question this.... then ask yourself how your child still gets sick if you use these sanitizing methods?
  • 5. STOP USING ANTIBIOTICS. Antibiotics are wonderful when used in the correct manner. However over use of them creates more "superbugs" and makes a human being all the more sick from bacterial resistance to medications. If you care to argue this point.... then do some reading and research on MRSA and CA-MRSA. It used to be a simple staph infection, curable by methicillin. Now it's resistant to Methicillin. (Hence MRSA). It used to be seen in hospitals only, now it's in the community (Hence CA-MRSA). Good thing we still have some drugs to treat this infection with but guess what? It got smarter... There is a form of Staph now (called VRSA) that is stronger then even our strongest antibiotic we can throw at it....
  • What if all infections were to evolve this way? Scary thought huh?
  • *Personal note: I used to run to the doctor for every little thing... including sinus infections. Well, over time, I have developed a severe allergy to all Penicillin medications and most recently all Sulfa medications. I have since stopped this. I have taken so many antibiotics that I now have a limited choice of them available for me. And if I ever become HONESTLY and SERIOUSLY sick.... I want them to work.
  • 6. STOP TAKING OTC MEDICATIONS. Such things as Sudafed, Claritin, Cough meds, etc. only mask the symptoms, enabling us to go out and infect others with our germs. This is unhealthy! Coughs, runny noses, fevers, watery eyes, this is all our bodies way of fighting off whatever is bothering us. The author is very good at explaining... LET MOTHER NATURE WORK IT'S OWN MAGIC. Stay at home, rest, let your body cough out the germs, burn them up with fever, blow them out with snot. These are all excellent ways to avoid getting even more sick!
  • 7. Vaccinations are good. It's great to have an author point out facts supporting the fact that children should be vaccinated. She refutes most of the myths surrounding vaccinations (as in MMR and autism or vaccinations vs. side effects). There are studies that prove this as well. Here's one example:
  • * In the past, the rate of high fever side effect with the pertussis vaccination was 1 in 330. Well some countries didn't like this rate so Japan, England, Sweden and others dropped this vaccination. Well, in Japan, here's what happened: When the vaccination was being GIVEN, there were still 400 cases of pertussis and 10 deaths. After it was stopped, there was 13,000 cases of pertussis and 113 deaths. Hmmmm.... Japan seemingly went back to making this vaccination available... I would much rather fight a night of high fever with my child then have him be part of this statistic.
  • 8. And finally the author says to ask yourself when you or your child is sick, "WHAT WOULD MOTHER NATURE DO?" That's a pretty simple question considering we have an AWESOME immune system.
  • I know, I know, that was probably long and boring...
  • But I REALLY enjoyed this book.
  • Yes, we do have modern medicine for a reason though. I believe in modern medicine. Yes, it can harm us, but it can also help us.... I guess it's more a matter of CHOOSING between the times it's NEEDED, and the times that it's not. Yes, I still give my children cough medicine... not during the day though, only at night when I believe sleep is more important to healing. Yes, i do give my children Ibuprofen for fevers, but usually not until the fever is above 102. Fever is a good thing. Yes, i still take Claritin for my own allergies, mostly when I need to function. I have however gotten myself down from taking it almost daily in the spring to maybe once every couple of weeks. I am currently battling a sinus infection ON MY OWN. No antibiotics and no Sudafed. And guess what? I've been resting more and blowing my nose every 5 minutes but over the course of 4 days, I DO feel better.... and more importantly I feel better that I have fought it on my own... WITH OUT ANTIBIOTICS! High five immune system!
  • Okay... off the soapbox now... I need to finish giving my house it's spring enema... but guess what? I'm not using chemicals... I'm using vinegar, water, and essential oils. And guess what else... I probably won't wash my hands as much as I should! ;-)


-jd said...

Very intersesting, I'll read it tonight.

Bon Don said...

Excellent post! It's all so true!

I just really need to control my had's a sickness really! :)

PBS said...

I agree totally with your post! But in most situations anything less than germ warfare is considered dirty or unsanitary. An example: in most offices where I have worked they (usually other women) just love to spray air freshener and even furniture polish into the air "because it smells so good and fresh" It makes me cough and choke, nice fresh air from an open window would be much better but isn't allowed. It's too "dusty" and "dirty" to breathe outside air as compared to chemical compounds(!)

Nina said...

I wish I could hive-five my immune system! :-)

kate said...

my son called me from college recently and thanked me for rarely giving him antibiotics as a child....he said he has an immune system that just won't quit. he rarely gets sick, and when he does, he recovers much faster than his friends. i had a great family doctor who refused to prescribe antibiotics unless absolutely necessary, or when supported by culture results. he says he loses more patients....usually mom's with kids....who want an antibiotic for every sniffle.great post!

Anonymous said...

Hmm... I guess dirt is good. I mean, even though I lost both of my dogs within 15 days of each other, I am still out there tilling dirt preparing my garden. I went out in the pasture today, where the stream, dead trees are and fixed some fixing. Mud was thick, but went ahead and worked in it. I just can't run and hide due to something called blastomycosis. Maybe I'm immune!! Wouldn't that be lucky. Anyhow, your doing well at this and I hope it helps the kiddos in the end and they have strong healthy bodies, and you and John too!