All allergy-ied out already?
|May 18, 2006||Posted by Sujeet under Food and drink, Sujeetism|
You’re not alone. You could blame it on anything you like – from the odd weather, the unseasonal rainfall supressing the pollen release, to the apparently super-clean lives we lead today. Read on..
Early statistics taken about a few decades ago said that one in six Americans sported seasonal allergies. That number has apparently gone down to one in three today. I’m sure that the pharmaceutical vendor lobby doesn’t quite see it the same way, but most theories regarding allergies echo the same sentiment….
We may be too clean for our own good.
Translated, our homes, our workplaces and our cars are almost hermetically shielded against most airborne pollutants, allergens or otherwise. Pollen filters have been standard issue in cars for a long, long time now. Ditto for the same in air circulators in homes and in the vent system for multi-floor facilities. The food we eat is sanitized of anything that the FDA would frown upon, and since portions are so large – the occassional morsel dropping down on the table / floor usually stays there before going into the garbage.
Translated yet again, our immune system is probably on a roll, if not on a vacation. The drugs available across the counter and/or via prescription to fight most bugs have been tailored and strengthened so well that the “recovery” time involved relies lesser on the immune system, and everyone’s happy that way because nobody wants to lose time staring at a ceiling.
Its a hard debate. Coaxing our immune system into action would mean that we take our overall hygiene level down by a few notches and do things like drink water straight from the tap, eat food off the floor past the five-second rule and occassionally trust the bottoms of our pants to completely sanitize our hands before using them to put some (more) food into our mouth.
It would mean accepting medicines that do not have labels promising near-instant relief from whatever symptoms you face, which could mean that you take longer for the same amount of work and enthusiasm at your workplace or wherever / whenever your attention is needed on a regular basis.
It would mean letting your kid’s body “play out the fever” instead of zapping it immediately. Not a pretty thought, considering one really doesn’t know if a “fever” is “just a fever” with kids, especially since their vocal chords (and vocabularies) haven’t really matured enough to say things like “I feel congested in the morning, but there’s no blood in my phlegm”, to either you or the doctor.
Its walking that fine line between doing extreme things like, say; some folks at the University of Iowa who are voluntarily ingesting a supervised dose of whipworm eggs and letting the little parasites hatch in their digestive tract so that they can siphon off some bodily nutrients and make their immune system build some muscle in the process of fighting them off; and the common supermarket shopper who picks up the “instant relief” labelled box on the over-the-counter antihistamine so that he / she can get to bed, and out of it, in time for the day ahead.
Only acrobats do well on a fine line. And even they like the safety net below.