This year with the Flu Declared Epidemic by CDC, according to ABC News, it makes me ponder the reasons why this continues to be the story, increasingly so, year after year. It could be as the linked article states, and people are getting vaccinated less and therefore getting sick more. It could be that the strains of the flu are getting stronger as they mutate. OR it could be because of the huge increase in antibacterial wipes, hand sanitizer, unnecessary vaccines, and the rest of the huge war on germs that has been brought on stronger in the last 10-15 years. With all the fear over germs, dirt, and anything “unclean,” the immune systems of our children are no longer working nearly as hard as ours did when we were younger, or the generations before us.
When I was a young child, if there was a commonly non-fatal virus going around like Chicken Pox, our parents would intentionally expose us, knowing that our immune systems would do their work and we would be stronger because of it. “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” Not only that, but we were allowed, and sometimes even encouraged, to play in the mud and to be outside as much as possible. People then knew that fresh air, sunshine, and a few germs weren’t going to hurt us, and that they would in fact make us healthier in the long run. Exposure to those common cold viruses and some bacteria keep our immune systems alive and strong. Like just about anything else, if its not needed, it will die, and it needs to exercise to be strong. So while we are waging this war on germs, our immune systems are no longer getting the work outs they need to stay strong, and humans are getting weaker. There’s a lot more to it, but I’m going to leave the more detailed explanation to Dr. Mary Ruebush in her article Dirt, Germs, and Other Friendly Filth. Enjoy the read!