My Consumer Reports "On Health Magazine" had a cover story this month on the rising cases of staph infections in gyms and health clubs around the country. Another good reason to workout at home. My guess is that the ropes, rings, pull-up bars and parallel bars at the beach where I workout aren't thoroughly cleaned every day, so I thought that maybe it was time to bring some hand cleaner to the beach on Sundays. Turns out that dangerous bacterial infections are on the rise all over the place. A whole new batch of antibiotic resistant strains of these little buggers also laugh at penicillin. I suppose if I read less I'd be less paranoid, but Doctors warned of this some 10 years ago when we all started using alcohol based "anti-bacterial" hand sanitizers. The experts said that the bacteria and viruses would mutate to build immunity to the very medicines and cleaners that are supposed to protect us. The over use of antibiotic medications has caused these little suckers to mutate and figure out new ways to infect us. Now there are super virus' and bacteria that are smart; they mutate the moment we stop taking the drugs to control them, thus making those drugs obsolete. (aids patients who stop taking their prescribed medication, even for one day, must start over in their medication regimen because the virus figures out how to circumvent the medicine in 24-48 hours and renders it obsolete)
There are several schools of thought, mostly in the psychiatric field, however, that we are genetically predisposed to illness. All the case studies I have read could be interpreted as a direct result of environment and behavior effecting our genetics. In the few physical illness articles I was able to find, doctors and scientists are somewhat divided and unclear. For instance, some sheep farmers in Britain are genetically effected by the chemicals they put on their sheep, and are unable, due to a genetic mutation caused by said chemicals, to fight off the damaging effects of the very chemicals they use to protect the sheep. Spraying pesticides to control West Nile Virus, does very little to control the virus, but has a very adverse effect on people, plants, and animals. In a study in northern Idaho, the town was sprayed with Malathion, the accepted pesticide for mosquito control. It did very little to control the bug population, (it is the larvae that needs to be killed, and you do that most effectively by not providing a home. e.g.. stagnant water) but caused some people in the region to stop producing a natural enzyme which allows them to fight off neuro toxins in the body. Thus, creating a bigger problem than the one or two cases of people getting sick from the virus itself.
In 2005, the American Thoracic Society released a study citing that children living next to highways and who have certain genetic backgrounds, are more likely to suffer from asthma than those living farther from the road. Uh, duh... I would think that if you live next to a major highway, you are certainly more likely to suffer from the effects of the pollution produced by living next to the road. And they failed to study whether or not the genetic alteration was caused by the parent living next to the road in the previous generation and passing that genetic code on to the child. Chicken or the egg? I'm not an expert but, I guess what I am saying is, we are constantly bombarded by virus' and bacteria and pollution, always have, always will. That bombardment has increased exponentially in the industrialized era. In a society that views the band aid as the fix, we need to remember we cannot take a pill or use a lotion to fix this. We need to take the actions necessary to increase our immunity naturally in order to survive. I believe the answer involves getting back to basics, what we put in and on our bodies and how we treat our bodies, exercise, diet, stress, etc. is a direct cause and effect.
We should remember, our own immune system is the best first defense we have and we should do everything in our power to make it as strong as possible. Naturally.
I'm just sayin...