Eat Some Dirt: Being Too Clean Is Dangerous to Your Health

I’m not washing my kitchen floor today. Or maybe not even next week. All because I’m thinking about my health.

Scientists say that too many people live in ultra-hygienic spaces today and it is harmful to our health.

Allergies seem to be increasing because of these overly clean environments. The cells in our bodies that act as a defense mechanism against parasites have less and less parasites to fight so they start fighting something else like pollens that don’t truly cause a threat.

By the 1880’s, America’s wealthy leisure class took pride in their hay fever suffering. They lived in clean places and didn’t need to spend their time outdoors working for a living. The poorer folk spent time outside in the midst of all sorts of pollens and their bodies didn’t suffer from it. Maybe because indoors they had to live with and fight off parasites like fleas and lice.

In my old workplace, a lady brought in one of those battery operated liquid soap dispensers for the sink. So you can wash your hands without touching the pump. I guess you don’t get the last person’s germs on your hands before you wash your hands of germs. Of course buying a battery to work this thing seems to be a fine use of our limited energy resources.

Also I’ve seen advertising for disposable paper towels for home bathrooms. So now you have an ugly institutional paper towel dispenser on your bathroom wall for hand drying. You’ll never need to touch your family’s potential leftover germs on that cloth towel. Do we need to kill even more trees in the name of sterility? How about washing your hand towel every day or two? Will you also stop touching your other family members in your daily life because of germs?

My old boss got downright rude and nasty when someone came into the office and sneezed. If they didn’t sneeze into their sleeves it was a catastrophe. Better yet, she told them to take that sneeze and their germy selves outside.

Pretty soon shaking hands will be a thing of the past. Unless we can start printing up some verifiable I-properly-wash-my-hands certificates complete with video of your last trip to the bathroom hand-washing technique. Although I’m ready to arrest some of those restaurant owners that fail to provide hot or even lukewarm water in their restaurant bathrooms. (I really hate that anyway.)

Now I’m not saying stop cleaning up completely. Back in the 1800’s, women preferred midwives to doctors during childbirth since the death rate for midwives was far lower than for doctors. Doctors used to dissect body parts and rush off to deliver a baby without washing up first. Since midwives didn’t poke around the entrails of too many corpses, they came to the birthing bed with less of the nastiest germs. That connection was eventually made and doctors started scrubbing up.

But life can’t exist in a sterile environment. Without some bacteria in our bodies, we couldn’t live. Just remember single-cell germs supposedly started life on earth. (No religious arguments here please, I’ve got a full-plate topic as it is.) And if we do end up exploding this planet, it may be those germs hurdling through space that find their way to another planet to do their germy multiplication again.

Even with the death and destruction after the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, all did not end up being lost. Scientists even found oil-eating bacteria in the water. Nature is more resilient and adaptable than we think.

Just now my husband started coughing and complaining about allergy season. That’s it, I’m not dusting for a few weeks now. I’m only thinking about his well being. And that gives me more time to read. I justify well.

The choice is crystal clear (unlike my windows).

The choice is crystal clear (unlike my windows)

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One response to “Eat Some Dirt: Being Too Clean Is Dangerous to Your Health

  1. Rats, why did I waste my time cleaning the bathrooms today? 😀

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