To talk about the most convenient myth of our time, it is necessary to systematize knowledge about immunity. Do not be afraid – we will systematize not for long – only four short paragraphs and one scheme.
Immunity (from the Latin word “immunitas”, meaning” liberation”) is the ability of the body to defend against foreign agents – parasites, microorganisms, viruses and substances. In other words, the immune system ensures the constancy of the internal environment of the body, scientifically called homeostasis.
Protection of the body from infection is carried out with the help of phagocyte cells, “eating” microorganisms, and with the help of special protein substances-antibodies, which act not only on microorganisms, but also on parasites (intestinal worms), viruses and foreign proteins.
Immunity is divided into congenital or hereditary and acquired during life. Immunity can be active when the human body itself produces antibodies after the disease or as a result of the introduction of a vaccine, or passive when the body receives ready-made antibodies from the mother or when administered therapeutic serum. Also, immunity is divided into natural (innate immunity and acquired after the disease) and artificial (acquired after the introduction of a vaccine or serum).
The organs of the immune system are divided into Central and peripheral. The Central ones are the red bone marrow and thymus or thymus. Peripheral organs include the spleen, lymph nodes, tonsils, and other clusters of lymphoid tissue (for example, nodules in the small intestine, which are called “Peyer plaques”).
Further knowledge of immunology you can get yourself in online and regular libraries. Just pay close attention to the sources of information. You wouldn’t drink water from any source, would you? And poisoned for long. Knowledge is also not necessary to extract where horrible, you can “poison”, that is to litter brains with nonsense.
Now tell me, please, have you ever thought about what makes myths tenacious? Not folk literature the myths of various peoples and things of fantasy, and “domestic” myths that we are so hard at dispelling.
Of course, the myth must look convincing, have a “scientific”, more precisely – pseudo-scientific basis, otherwise it will not be considered true.
The myth has to concern something interesting, vital, important and necessary, otherwise nobody will pay attention to it. Tell me, honestly, do you know anything about the controversy over the classification of primeval insects? Not unless you’re an entomologist studying insects professionally. And it’s such a deep, interesting topic… for entomologists.
Well, if the myth looks sensational – it will ensure its rapid spread and long life. Well, if the myth is also convenient for man, he will live forever.
What is a “convenient myth”?
It’s a myth that makes our lives easier in one way or another. For example: the myth that there are “fat-burning” foods that contribute to weight loss. Eat these foods and lose weight. Ah, how glorious! Or, say, the myth that colds can be treated with strong spirits. With this approach, for a number of people, any SARS becomes an occasion for drunkenness. And on “legal” grounds – “I’m not drinking, I’m being treated.”
But, fortunately, alcohol is not abused by all people. And excess weight is not every first. But to deal with hygiene issues in varying degrees have all people, regardless of their social status, habits and other individual characteristics. Even those served by a staff of servants wash their hands on their own. And the most “desperate” mud sometimes still wash, at least partially and not caring. So the myth of the harm of excessive cleanliness, freeing everyone who believes in it from part of the routine hygienic duties, is the most Convenient Myth of Mankind.
Excessive cleanliness weakens the immune system…
Strict adherence to hygiene rules reduces the activity of our immune system…
The body, living in sterile conditions, is not able to effectively fight infections, as it has not developed immunity against their pathogens…
Purity makes us helpless victims of germs… don’t wanna be a victim don’t undercut, during the cleaning up and seldom my hands!
Down with household chemicals that kill all microorganisms! Water is the best cleaning agent, and nothing else is needed for cleaning. Give the germs a chance and they in turn will give it to you!
“Give germs a chance” sounds good, doesn’t it? But the waiting for the promised return of chance can take a long time… But more on that later. We are still learning the myth. It is impolite and unwise to begin debunking a myth without a thorough acquaintance with it.
We continue the introduction…
People who grew up in moderate unsanitary conditions are much less susceptible to allergic diseases, including bronchial asthma, because the development of these diseases is very important time of the first contact of the body with the allergen. The earlier the contact occurs, the more correct the body will react to it. After all, what is an allergic reaction? This is an excessive, violent and unnecessary reaction of the body to some substance called an allergen. Don’t! And the later the contact with the substance, the more likely it is to cause allergies to it! Why is bronchial asthma not as widespread among the villagers as among the townspeople? Yes, because in the village all the contacts of the body occur at a reasonable early time. There these conditional allergens a dime a dozen-and are worn in the air in flocks. And in the city of sterility, cleanliness… and allergic diseases.
It is worth remembering that children from the so-called” developing ” countries with low per capita income are less likely to get sick than their peers living in developed, prosperous countries. Because children from developing countries, where hygiene has not yet turned into a passion for sterility, the immune system works more actively…
Sterility is needed in operating rooms and other medical facilities, where in order to prevent diseases, it is necessary to exclude the ingress of microbes into an open wound or even into the body. Home sterility is not the place!
What a glorious myth… What a convenient myth Great myth… If you meet him you had a pang of conscience about the missed cleaning or washed before eating it, but now instead of remorse will come a deep sense of moral satisfaction. You are not lazy, and train your immune system! Yes, the one who came up with this wonderful myth, a monument at full length piss break. From platinum! What’s wrong? They deserve it!
Add a little more fuel to the fire before you start exposing yourself?
Please! Have you ever wondered why autoimmune diseases have recently become so widespread in prosperous countries? Look at the statistics, according to which every twentieth inhabitant of developed countries has an autoimmune disease. Or, if you’re bored digging through the numbers, watch the series “Dr. house”, where autoimmune diseases are commemorated almost through the series.
What attack? Where?
From excessive sterility! We are able goofing off, and our organs and cells sit idle is not used. If the immune system does not have enemies – foreign agents that have penetrated the body, it will find enemies among the proteins and cells of the body to have something to do. The result is a formidable defensive weapon – the immune system – becomes an instrument of suicide that affects our bodies.
Rheumatoid arthritis, diffuse toxic goiter, type 1 diabetes, systemic lupus erythematosus and multiple sclerosis are only the most common autoimmune diseases. Let’s face it-it’s not a cold, but very serious diseases that can lead to disability, and even death. And it all began with the fact that a caring mother for sterilization ironed diapers on both sides, and no less caring grandmother did wet cleaning of the apartment twice a day and generously poured chlorine into the water used for washing. Dad also did not stay away – personally built a partition in the hallway, dividing it into “dirty” and “clean” areas… All for the good of the child! And fifteen years later, this child was diagnosed with systemic lupus erythematosus… draw conclusions!
Familiarity with the myth is complete. Let’s move on to the expose. And we’ll start with what ended the acquaintance.
There is no link between sanitation and the incidence of autoimmune diseases. In any case, to date (2019) there is no convincing scientific evidence that “excessive” cleanliness in the home increases the risk of autoimmune disease.
There is only a hypothesis, and not very logical, which was picked up and spread by the media. This idea is readily exploited by charlatans engaged in “treatment” and “prevention” of autoimmune diseases. Agree, that is very nice for a purse (of conscience to remember makes no sense) to sell to unsuspecting sucker-money-bag a bottle of “healing microbial dust collected on the Northern slopes of the Himalayas” thousand etak ten. And even for twenty – it is a unique dust for which collectors have to climb high into the mountains, at a certain time of the year… If you dispel such dust at home and do not do after wet cleaning, autoimmune and allergic diseases can not be feared. Beauty!
The causes of autoimmune diseases have not yet been studied. Scientific versions, that is, among those that deserve attention and study, currently known four.
Version one-infection of the body with an infectious agent similar to some cells of the body. Similarity refers to the similarity of the sites of protein molecules (or other substances) by which the body’s immune system defines “outsiders”. As a result, the immune system begins to fight not only with an alien agent, but also with its own cells. An example is autoimmune reactive arthritis (inflammatory joint damage) after gonorrhea.
Version two-changing the structure of the body’s cells under the influence of an infectious agent. As a result of this change, the immune system begins to perceive the changed cells as “outsiders” and fights them. Example-autoimmune chronic active hepatitis after hepatitis B.
Version three-autoimmune diseases develop due to violation of the integrity of internal barriers, which normally do not allow cells of the immune system to the organ. Roughly speaking, such barriers are dense layers of cells that separate some organs from the blood. The cause of the violation of the integrity of the barrier may be injury or infectious inflammation. An example is autoimmune thyroiditis (inflammation of the thyroid gland).
Version four-pathological, that is painful, strengthening of immunity, in which the immune cells disappear differences between” their “and”strangers”. It is believed that such an increase in immunity can be provoked by viruses.
Read all versions again and answer this question – what is present in all versions?
Infectious agents are present there. As a factor triggering the development of the disease. What about the alleged harm of “excessive” purity can I say?
As for the inhabitants of developing countries, who from the point of view of statistics look healthier than the inhabitants of developed countries, it is necessary to take into account such a factor as the availability of health care. If in Russia or, say, in Germany, almost anyone, even a homeless vagrant, can easily get qualified medical care, in India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Nigeria, Mozambique or Uganda, many residents throughout their lives never meet with doctors. And diagnostic capabilities in developing countries are much narrower than in developed countries. Speaking about the “epidemic” (quotes are not accidental) autoimmune diseases in our time, you need to understand that humanity has finally learned to diagnose these diseases, to recognize. And in the old days they were mistaken for rheumatism, gout or just fever. Take the literary heritage of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and in almost every work you will find a hero suffering from rheumatism, gout or fever… And even can be hemorrhoids, hernia and chest toad. By the way, the thoracic toad included among others and autoimmune endocarditis, inflammation of the inner shell of the heart-the endocardium.
Now let’s talk about sterility. Scientific positions under sterility means the absence of all species of microorganisms on surfaces, on equipment, food product, drug, etc. this word exists another value, such as the inability to produce offspring sexually, but we now leave aside.
How is sterility in the operating room? By a number of means constituting the so-called sterility regime. Here and the device of a special vestibule, and frequent cleaning with the use of disinfectants, and wearing sterile clothes, and regular irradiation with special sterilizing lamps, and much more… at home, as you do not try, you will not achieve sterility. But purity will achieve. And will this clean you only good, because the purer around you and cleaner you are, the less chances you have of Contracting a number of infectious diseases.
Wrong and stupid to say that, paving diaper with a hot iron or doing home cleanings, you injure your infant, plunge it in sterility, that can later withdraw it sideways, that is, to cause autoimmune diseases. Respecting the purity and nagasiva diaper, you prevent meeting of the newborn child with microorganisms that are unable to harm him. The immune system of the newborn, figuratively speaking, is just gaining momentum, and therefore the Staphylococcus, which is not able to cause disease in an adult, the child will cause inflammation of the skin or some other disease. Therefore, it is desirable to iron diapers iron on both sides. This is not sterility, but a reasonable hygienic measure. And hands before food wash with soap desirable. And eating an unwashed Apple, you do not” train ” your immune system, and put your body at risk.
Do not confuse cleanliness with sterility – these are completely different concepts. A child growing up clean will grow up healthier than his peers living in unsanitary conditions. Whatever myths and legends say, hygiene and sanitation were created to prevent diseases .
All the necessary microbes-symbionts child will receive and clean, because clean does not imply sterility.
Of course, everything must be done within reasonable limits. Cleaning in the children’s room should be done with the use of such means that do not harm the health of the child, and when cleaning the house or apartment as a whole should not be carried away by disinfectants beyond measure. Before applying the disinfectant, you need to carefully study its properties, methods of application and dosage. Keep in mind that dosages are developed by experts, knowledgeable people with specialized education and a complete understanding of the subject. Do not argue with them in absentia, increasing the dosage several times in order for the tool to “work better”. With such arbitrariness there is a risk for the company with microorganisms to ruin themselves and their loved ones.
Especially careful should be the choice of detergents and disinfectants where young children live, crawling everywhere and trying to lick everything that is possible.
To the topic of “sterility” we will return, but for now here is a statement, the correctness of which should be evaluated: “the Apple is round and edible, the Moon is also round, so it is edible.”
Nonsense? Yes, nonsense. The shape of the object can not be judged on its composition. You can not “cut under one comb” all that has the same shape.
But why then we “cut under one comb” all cells of our organism, in particular-muscular and immune? Why are we talking about some mythical “immune training”?
Muscle cells (and in General muscles in General) at regular physical activity increase in volume, grow stronger, increase efficiency. But these are muscle cells. The immune system should not be compared with the muscles, and with the apparatus, which include the need. If there is such a need, that is, the body entered-introduced alien agent, cells of the immune system begin to fight it. If there is no agent – the cells are inactive, and this inaction does not affect their functional state, the quality of their work. Works if necessary. The immune system does not need “training” and all sorts of “tactical exercises”. If it is necessary to form an artificial immunity to some disease, it is done with the help of vaccination, which will be given a separate Chapter. But vaccination is not “training”, you can not so roughly draw Parallels between the muscular and immune systems.
It should be borne in mind that the immune system has such a property as specificity – the immune response is always directed against a particular agent. If you, because of eating unwashed vegetables and fruits, get sick with dysentery, ascaridosis and hepatitis A, it will in no way make you more resistant to the flu virus. But less stable-easily, because any infectious disease theoretically (and not only theoretically) can cause persistent disorders in the immune system.
The reason for the greater prevalence of allergic diseases in cities should be sought primarily in the environment. The city air is more polluted than the country air – that’s the main reason. The villagers spend much more time in the open air than the townspeople, that is, they are constantly (regularly) tempered. Regular hardening increases the body’s resistance. Hardened people rarely suffer from simple diseases, so take less drugs than non-hardened. Less medication is the second reason.
Here it is necessary to make two clarifications.
First-the author of this book in any case does not urge readers to refuse to take drugs prescribed by their doctors. the author encourages you to behave in such a way that doctors have to treat you as rarely as possible.
Second – don’t confuse tempering with the “exercise of immunity.” These are completely different concepts, the first is real, and the second is mythical. At its core, hardening is a gymnastics for the small vessels of the skin, which are narrowed by the action of cold and expand by the action of heat. Clearly, correctly reacting to changes in ambient temperature, vessels protect the body from hypothermia and overheating. Add to the place that the first and foremost among the rules of hardening is the rule of regularity and continuity. Hardening should be regular and continuous, it should be carried out throughout the life of a person. It is impossible to be hardened for the future, for many years to come. Two or three weeks break reduces the effect of hardening to zero, and you have to start all over again.
The third reason is that the villagers, for the most part, are less likely to seek medical help than the townspeople. More calls – more diagnoses, so the urban morbidity statistics worse than the village.
Opponents of ” sterile cleanliness “like to refer to the so-called” theory of the influence of hygiene”, put forward in 1989 by British epidemiologist David Strakan. Strakan published an article entitled “hay fever, hygiene and family size,” in which he suggested that the more older siblings a child has, the less likely it is to have allergic rhinitis (runny nose). According to Starkan, infectious diseases suffered in early childhood, the infection of which occurred as a result of contact with older brothers and sisters, prevented the development of allergic diseases.
Strakan’s assumption was and remains to this day the purest hypothesis, that is, a statement that needs to be confirmed. But for some reason this hypothesis was called not “hypothesis” but “theory” – “theory of the influence of hygiene”, “hygienic theory of autoimmune diseases” or simply “hygienic theory”. There is no proof, but there is a theory, such a “paradox”.
The term “theory” gave the Strachan hypothesis solidity and credibility, but did not make it confirmed. It’s a hypothesis, just a hypothesis and just a hypothesis. Some data can be found on the Web to support Strachan’s hypothesis, but there is a huge difference between” can serve as confirmation ” and convincing scientific evidence.
The conclusion is that if you come across something proudly called “theory”, then first assess the availability and quality of evidence, and then believe.
We’ll get back to immunity. In the Chapter devoted to the fateful question-to do or not to do vaccinations.