Today I am going to talk about a very interesting topic… Inner Immunity. This will actually be covered tomorrow as a general topic on the Natural Health Show.
I am going to put a pediatric spin on this one. When I was a kid I had frequent infections. Then I started spending some time in a veterinary lab facility where one of my close relatives worked. Back then access to such facilities was not as restricted as now. Once there I would spend time watching pathogenic bacteria under the microscope. Shortly afterwards I stopped having infections. Was it just a coincidence?
I am bringing this topic up because I think that some individuals are living with the misconception that raising children in a completely sterile environment is good for them because it keeps them away from bugs such as bacteria, viruses, and the freakiest kind, parasites. Well this is actually only partially true. When the immune system is exposed to these pathogens it recognizes them as foreign entities and mounts an immune attack to fight the infection. Please be careful. This is not true for individuals who are immune compromised; for example children with genetic mutations causing their immune system to be weak. But the stimulated attack is not the only thing that happens. The other interesting thing is that during this initial fight the immune system forms what are called memory B cells. These cells actually “remember” the particular pathogen for many years, and when an individual is exposed again to that same pathogen at some future time, the immune response is much stronger and quicker than the first time.
This is actually what happens with vaccinations. The immune system is “tricked” into thinking that a real pathogen is present, and then it mounts an immune response and forms Memory B cells which react to the real pathogen at some later time and mount a stronger and quicker immune response against it.
In other words what I am trying to say is that it’s ok if children play in sand boxes in the park, it’s ok to send them to preschool where other kids may be sources of certain “bugs”, it’s ok that they get a slight cold here and there because every time they get out of it their immune system is stronger, it’s ok that they spend time in public places and its ok not to wash their hands a million times a day. Without being exposed to weak sources of pathogens and to vaccinations the immune system does not develop well and is weak. This can have serious consequences later in adult life especially in elderly individuals who may have a weaker immune system because of age.
On the other hand of course it is wise and prudent to keep children away from strong sources of infection such as someone coughing all over the place, away from unsanitary conditions, and to give them proper vaccinations.
The other thing to keep in mind is that we can support a child’s immune system by supplementing it with foods and natural compounds that strengthen the immune system. I have mentioned a lot of them in my blog on influenza and the common cold so you can find them there. But there are also some cool products on our site that are natural, clean of artificial “stuff”, and made of natural compounds that have been proven through good research to strengthen the immune system. These products are Rx Balance modu cold, Rx balance oil of Oregano, Sambucol Black Elderberry extract, Garlic in the form of Kyolic 103 Immune enhancer, Organic Echinacea Plus Tea, and vitamin C.
So next time your kid puts a finger in their mouth covered with sand from the sand box, don’t panic, it’s not the end of the world. Keep up the great parenthood!