Killing Ourselves with Protection?
It is becoming more and more apparent to me that the numbers of people with allergies are increasing significantly in the past several years. I being one of them. I developed hay fever in my early twenties. Excessive sneezing, congestion, trouble breathing through my nose, terrible sinus headaches are some of my symptoms. Last year, I finally bit the bullet and visited an allergist. I now take zyrtec and Nasacort. My symptoms have virtually disappeared.
This past week I have noticed that my 19 month old daughter has unfortunately taken on my malady. Same times of year. Same symptoms. But on a small child, they seem so exaggerated. My daughter, Cassidy, has been home with me since she was born. I only just started bringing her to a daycare in the past 2 months for a few hours a week for socialization development. Other than that, she hasn’t had much exposure to other children and their ‘cooties’. I am certainly not a germaphobe, and I am not constantly disinfecting everything. But I think that her lack of exposure may play a part in why allergies are affecting her at such a young age.
Seasonal allergy symptoms are basically our body’s reacting to elements in the environment that are not in themselves harmful. But because our immune system finds them to be inhaled strangers, it releases histamine to fight the off the strangers. And the histamine causes inflammation which is what causes many of the symptoms.
When I was a kid, we played outside from morning to night. We never had antibacterial soap, hand wipes, or sanitizing gel. We sat in contaminated grocery carts, we ate off the tables in restaurants, and sat on public toilet seats. All of these things are quite foreign to children today. We, as a society, are constantly cleaning, sanitizing, disinfecting…all of our products are antibacterial…and everyone is immunized and given antibiotics for everything that can or does ail us.
I sincerely feel that this over protection is weakening our immune systems. And I think it could actually be what kills the human race in the long run. If we react to these actions with allergies, I have to wonder what other problems we are creating or giving more power to with all of this armor. Cancers? Asthma? Lactose intolerance? I wonder if we didn’t avoid illness and discomfort to the extent that we do, especially with our children, perhaps they would be stronger to fight off the bigger, more dangerous illnesses to come. I wonder if exposure to chicken pox, mumps, and ear infections may actually make us stronger individually and as a civilization.
Just something I am thinking about. I have immunized Cassidy for everything her Dr. suggested. I gave her antibiotics twice for ear infections. And I even keep her home when she has the sniffles. But I do have to wonder, am I really doing her and society a favor? Something to think about.