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Keeping your immune system on its toes

  1. Aug 18, 2007 #1


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    Keeping your immune system "on its toes"

    So, I've always lived by this philosophy of "keeping your immune system on its toes".

    Is this coherent with reality? That if I expose myself to more germs, I strengthen my immune system?

    I've always thought people that wrapped their babies in saran wrap were setting them up for all kinds of problems, but it's a complete high-school train of thought I've come to wonder about.
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  3. Aug 18, 2007 #2


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    I totally agree. Things that apparently are supposed to kill you don't bother me at all. For instance, I use the same dishes for at least a couple of weeks between washings (at work; W won't let me at home). I handle money, which is one of the germiest things on Earth, all day long as my job and don't even bother washing my hands any more before eating or whatever. Also, I refuse to use antibacterial soap unless there's nothing else available. It just kills the good bacteria and causes tolerance in the bad ones.
    Lest anyone be terribly disgusted by all of this, let me point out that I've missed one day of work due to illness in the last 35 years.
  4. Aug 18, 2007 #3
    There have been studies on allergy that suggest that the reason for the fact that the countries of eastern Europe has a less frequency of child allergies than the west is because their culture is not so obsessed with cleaning and that children are therefore exposed to it early on.

  5. Aug 18, 2007 #4


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    Many parents let their babies eat dirt and stuff, yes.

    The also have "chicken pox parties" - if some kid catches it, you throw all the kids in a room and let them all catch it - to get it over with.
  6. Aug 18, 2007 #5


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    I'd be more interested in how many days have been missed by the people you have frequent contact with... :eek:
  7. Aug 18, 2007 #6


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    That's not my concern. They probably use antibacterial soap, so they're doomed anyway.

    Anyhow, anything that I do or don't do doesn't impact anyone else. When I was tending bar, and thus handling other people's food, drinks, and utensils, I washed my hands with soap at least every 5 or 10 minutes. I also wash thoroughly if I'm cooking for someone else.
  8. Aug 19, 2007 #7

    jim mcnamara

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    Without digressing too far, exposure to domesticated animals provides immunity or protection from some diseases. Cowpox provides immunity to smallpox. Grooms and stall workers were usually plague free during plague years in Europe. The rat flea cannot stand the smell of horse dander, the flea was the major vector (minor was pneumonic plague).
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