Some prevalent viral infections, alas, cannot be prevented. This explains why some children between the ages of 4-6 , or later, get upwards of two (2) to ten (10) colds every year, despite having a healthy diet, and adequate sleep. Their immune system simply hasn’t yet built the immunity to many viruses, most of which do not have a vaccine, as they frequently mutate especially when transferring from one host to another.
Fortunately, treatment for most common infections like the cold or stomach flu is simply to drink a lot of fluids and rest, and letting time take its course. For more serious infections, antibiotics and vaccines are normally used.
Antibiotics can kill bacteria, and should only be used when necessary, and always under the supervision of a licensed healthcare practitioner. Improper dosage and use of antibiotics could lead to the bacteria present in our bodies to develop resistance to the medicine.
Keep in mind that there are healthy bacteria in our bodies that are necessary for the day to day healthy function of our microbiome. When we take antibiotics, the drug is unable to distinguish between the good and bad bacteria, and attacks them both.
Probiotics are a stop-gap measure taken to replace good bacteria that has been wiped away by antibiotic use, and these should likewise be taken under the supervision of a licensed physician, and also for a limited amount of time.
Vaccines are small doses of germs that are proactively introduced to the body of a healthy person with a robust immune system in order to develop antibodies. This teaches the body in advance how to respond, and what defenses to put up, when we come across a larger and more harmful size of the germ.
Depending on the body, it takes roughly two (2) weeks for our bodies to develop an immune response upon vaccination. This explains why inoculations are done way in advance, sometimes when children are still infants. Given that viruses can hit anyone at any time, and infants still have weak immune systems, some suggest getting a flu vaccine annually for persons 6 months and older.
Mindful behavior is also a key component that prevents the spread of infection. These would include
- Staying at home and isolating if you are aware that you are a carrier. Too often in our society, feigning strength even when we are feeling unwell is glorified as showing that we are hard workers, without concern for the possible infection we could spread to the workplace.
- Wearing a mask to prevent airborne contagion.
- Washing our hands with soap and water often.
- Sneezing or coughing into our elbows and not on our hands or into the open air. The lifespan of germs on clothing and other porous surfaces is a fraction compared to when they land on hard surfaces.
Over the past few decades, emerging research is starting to show that a number of chronic health issues many adults are currently experiencing are attributable to growing up environments with little to no bacterial or viral threats, whether major, or minor. Compared to three decades prior, statistics have shown a rise in deaths attributable to asthma and allergies in more progressive nations. It seems that being exposed to, and recovering from, a wide range of microbes and infectious diseases at a young age contribute to a more robust and equipped immune system once children mature.
There is a rising movement nowadays called Breathe Your Biome, encouraged largely in part by Dr. Zach Bush, wherein he advises that we simply go out and breathe nature in, as a first step to regenerating our body. He purports that this is a forgotten practice in today’s modern society and is vital to our collective healing. His beliefs echo results of studies done by independent scientists that young children’s immune system should be stimulated by a wide range of germs, to a safe level.
Science is starting to reveal the connection between our immune system and germs, and we would do best to keep an open mind to what we learn, so that we may consciously weigh the consequences of keeping our environment overly clean with the use of chemicals that come with their own risk.