Anytime you get sick or ill and you just don’t feel well, have a headache, a body ache, fever, chills, you know what I’m talking about, you know what it’s like to be sick.
Do you remember a time like that? Well, what happened? What happened after a week, or two weeks, or three weeks? You got better, didn’t you?
This is what happens especially with kids growing up, the world is a new place for them and there’s these pathogens that get into our bodies, basically mainly through our nasal and oral passages. We have this mucosal barrier, this is sort of like the gateway to the body and where these viruses and bacteria can enter. Obviously, that’s why we talk about washing hands a lot, et cetera, et cetera. We want to keep things as clean as we can.
There is a caveat to that, and that is there is a theory, it’s called the hygiene theory. It has to do with immunity and it has to do with allergies, for example, hay fever or asthma. Those children who have parents that are scrubbing and wiping and using alcohol and cleansers all the time and never let their children play in the playground and wipe everything off all the time, these kids grow up without the opportunity of engaging with a lot of these pathogens. Versus kids that are out on the farm, kids that are growing up with farm animals and dirt and barns and the hayloft and sundry things, they absorb a lot of these pathogens, and guess what their immunity system does? It learns to recognize those things and figure out which things are really, really harmful and which things are not so harmful and should be tolerated.
There’s two sides to the immune system when it comes to identifying and doing away with pathogens that may be detrimental to us versus learning to tolerate tree pollen or cat dander, those types of things. I’ve been allergic a lot of my life to ragweed and tree pollen and cat dander, but I’m going to tell you a little later in another episode what supplement I found 15 years ago that completely eliminated my allergies to cat dander and to ragweed. You’ll be wanting to stick around for that.
Once you get sick and you get better, you’ve learned something, that which does not kill us makes us stronger.
That’s a famous quote from Friedrich Nietzsche, a philosopher, a German philosopher, who was a pretty miserable person, but he did come up with this one very interesting thought that the stress that your body is put under by an attacking invader, if it doesn’t kill you, you learn to become strong and to be able to resist that. That’s the way the immune system works.
One of the best things we can do, if you want to think about it this way, when you do get a cold or you do get a flu or something like that, you’re actually teaching your body how to deal with it. When you get a fever, the fever is actually there to help you. We take aspirin or we take Advil to try to lower the fever, which isn’t in itself a bad thing, but the fever is there for a particular purpose and it is to burn out the pathogen and get rid of it.
Our immune system has two functions. One is to identify the pathogens that are really detrimental to us and then other immune cells come along and knock that stuff out.