The idea of cleanliness has been drilled into us. Wash your hands! Don’t get sick! Sanitize everything!
I encourage you to buck the trend and get your cootie on! Don’t be afraid of getting sick–it’s actually kind of good for you. After all, there is a reason why children are always getting sick: their bodies are encountering new bacteria and learning how to fight them off. Their body is still learning, just as they are. Each little cold helps teach the body how to better handle the next one and if something formidable tries to infect the body, a well developed microbiome will give one better odds in the battle.
What is a microbiome, you ask? It is the genetic material found within an individual microbe such as a bacterium, fungal cell, or virus. It also refers to the bacteria of the intestines. The microbiome is the savvy ecosystem in your body that is not “you” but beneficial “guests” that live inside the big bag of cells your skin holds in. It plays such an important role that it has been linked to internal detoxification, cell replication, immune function, and can even affect mental health! Good microbes can ward off the bad ones. Good microbes can make you brilliant. 😉 OK maybe not, but having that mindset..
When a baby is born vaginally, it gulps essential microbes as it leaves the birth canal seeding it’s gut flora. It gains more immunity through breast feeding as well as further building the microbiome. God put that system in place for more than bonding (which is crucial!). It is the essential beginning of getting the right microbial balance for that tiny person’s whole life.
An interesting thought is that for every one cell in your body there are 10 microbes!!! That’s right, your ecosystem is 10x bigger that your tissues!!
The more support you can give your microbiome, the better prepared it is for the bad cooties. Here is what I do at home: Wash my hands when they are sticky or have been elbow deep in raw chickeny kind of things. If my kids sneeze, I don’t race to the sink (Unless there is something visibly unpleasant about it). When I go out in public, I shake hands with people and hug them. I put my hands directly on the shopping carts. I do not use hand sanitizer. I let myself get cold. I let myself get hot. I eat good nourishing food and drink lots of good water. If I get sick, I allow the fever and rest. And I am not angry with my body because IT IS WORKING! It means my immune system is doing exactly what it was designed to do. Applause and gratitude should always accompany a nap and a bowl of homemade chicken noodle soup. Your body has work to do but it is also LEARNING how to fight. Your attitude about what your body is handling can affect your recovery process as well!
Now, if you are going to take my advice, some common sense is necessary. Some illnesses cannot be fought by your body alone. Take care of yourself and always know when to see a doctor.