What Does the “Five Second Rule” Have to Do with Possibly Preventing Asthma and Allergies?

86e4too late 590x400 What Does the Five Second Rule Have to Do with Possibly Preventing Asthma and Allergies?

Everybody knows the Five Second
Rule, right? That it’s OK to eat food that falls to the ground
if it’s picked up within five seconds? The Washington Post
has a nice article today, “Hypercleanliness
May Be Making Us Sick,” delving into the Hygiene Hypothesis
that suggests that exposure to various germs early in life protects
against the later development of allergies, asthma, and various
auto-immune diseases. The idea is that your immune system gets
practice fending off real threats and doesn’t later overreact to
innocuous things like cat dander. ; As the Post
explains:

A growing body of evidence suggests that all the
antibacterial-wiping, germ-killing cleanliness of the developed
world may actually be making us more prone to getting sick — and
that a little more dirt might help us stay healthier in the long
run…
Here’s what researchers do know: Our immune systems need bugs.
They rely on early encounters with germs to learn how to protect
our bodies.
“Bacteria, fungi, lots of these things we think of as bad —
they’re all part of our environment, and we evolved to live with
them,” says Michael Zasloff, an immunologist and physician at
MedStar Georgetown University Hospital. Through exposure to these
microbes early in life, your immune system learns what’s harmful
and what isn’t, he says, and that readies the immune responses
you’ll have for the rest of your life.
“The body has got to know friend from foe,” Zasloff says. If
your body learns that a specific microbe or substance — any
antigen, or visitor to the body — is a foe, it will send immune
system cells to destroy it. If it recognizes the antigen as a
friend, the immune system will leave it alone. “Exposure tells the
immune system, ‘These are the things you’re going to run into all
the time, so you don’t need to worry about them.’ ”

Support for the Hygiene Hypothesis comes from research comparing
farm and city kids. Farm kids are less likely to suffer from
allergies and asthma than are city kids. Why? Because they are
exposed to more microbes from livestock, muck around in barns,
etc.
So what does this have to do with the Five Second Rule? The
Post reports:

Zasloff goes even further. He doesn’t mind if his kids eat a
little dirt, don’t wash their hands before every meal or wear the
same socks twice. Eating food that’s been in the fridge a while or
that has fallen on the floor is okay, too, he says.

That being said, Zasloff does caution: “Use your common
sense.”
Disclosure: I am something of cleanliness nut, but I do
practice the Five Second Rule. Also, despite having grown up on a
dairy farm, I am allergic to our two cats. Fortunately, the modern
miracle of daily Zyrtec solves that problem.

Excerpt from – 

What Does the “Five Second Rule” Have to Do with Possibly Preventing Asthma and Allergies?


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