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WSJ Op-Ed on Covid and the "Hygiene Hypothesis"

Recently I came across this article written back in Feb of this year, and I thought I'd share. The original article can be found HERE or posted in a pic at the end of this post if you would like to read it in its entirety.

The cliff notes are that the early employment of enhanced cleaning and hygiene was warranted and important during the beginnings of Covid, but there is growing concern that continued hygiene measures like masking, sanitizing, use of gloves, etc can cause immune disorders in the long-term.


"Distancing, deep cleaning and masking aren't "more is better" kind of goods"


Written by Dr. Eran Bendavid, an associate professor of medicine at Stanford, he notes that with everything, we need to have moderation in exposure to microbes. Too much, and we have rampant disease. Too little, and our immune systems will not be in tune to protect us. This, he notes, is particularly important for CHILDREN.


"The immune system gets the most effective tuning during childhood, and reducing its ability to distinguish disease-causing invaders from benign targets is a common mechanism proposed for allergies, asthma and immune-mediated bowel diseases, among others....The evidence that masking reduces spread is stronger, but it also limits the exchange of other microbes, which may be deleterious, especially to children."


In other words, reducing normal exposure to typical microbes that children come in contact with naturally increases risks of autoimmune issues that range from breathing like asthma, to digestive like colitis and can have lifelong effects.

Another key immune player that can have devastating effects if not cared for properly is the gut microbiome. I have posted a short blog about that previously that you can check out HERE. But it's essential in gene expression and proper healthy function of the body! He says " Loss of microbiome diversity in early life is associated with a host of adverse health consequences. Many measures implemented to control Covid-19, including distancing, isolation, lockdowns, masking, travel restrictions and deep cleaning, are poised to reduce microbiome diversity in profound and lasting ways."

In the end, he calls for a re-evaluation on the policies that were put in place 2 years ago that many people still hold onto out of fear today. He reiterates that it made sense to use drastic measures in the beginning, but new information on the current Covid situation needs to be weighed against the negative long-term effects of policies that were meant for short-term benefit.


"As Omicron recedes and we internalize the paucity of Covid-19 benefits from some hygiene practices, we should balance those against the benefits we lose by shielding our immune systems from normal exposures—and the ones we withhold from children by preventing the exchange of microbes through play and smiles."


My Two Cents: Covid is definitely still a sensitive subject for many, especially those who have lost loved ones or those who are immunocompromised themselves. One thing this article and many medical professionals fail to mention is the physical and nutritional components of health that can really boost the immune system. Several articles show that flexibility of the spine is directly linked to increased immunity, and chiropractic care can absolutely improve spinal range of motion. Additionally, there's more about the Vagus nerve and how it is key in almost all body functions and it also can be directly affected with a precise cervical adjustment! Nutritionally, there are so many supportive things that someone can do to help their immune function. One of which is supplementing with Vitamin D (which almost EVERYONE is deficient in).

I think it's totally fair for any individual to do what they need to do in order to feel safe.I think it is also only fair for those people to consider the risk vs. benefit for use of different interventions for themselves WHILE allowing others to do the same. We are not all in the same risk categories for the disease, so we shouldn't all need the same interventions. With that, we should respect each others' health decisions- especially considering the long term effects of health on children. So my hope with sharing this article is to provide a balanced opinion from another health professional of high standing in a reputable journal so that we can feel empowered as a community to protect ourselves and our children better, judge others less, and become more educated!

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