Dirt don’t hurt

By » Sat, May 12 2012
5218201316 b84a8cf6e7 z 450x427 Dirt dont hurt

"The spice must flow! Also, I will cure your allergies!" (img by Jay Reimer)

“How’s your wife? Is she in the states, yet?”

Chris sighed and looked up from his computer. “No. She’s back in Japan. Her last visit, she was pretty miserable. She hated how dirty everything was. In Japan, they have hand sanitizers right there in all public transit. It’s very clean.”

“So she doesn’t like dirt?”

“It’s not just that. She was incredibly sick the whole time she was here. She had a cold that laid her out for 2 weeks solid,” he said, and turned back to his desk, squinting quick past her photos.

I’ve had or overheard versions of this conversation enough to wonder if there’s something to the “dirty kids are healthy kids” idea that surfaces from time to time, even though the hypothesis doesn’t explain my own allergies/asthma, since I grew up in the woods, played in the dirt, and still can’t breathe very well around mold or during exercise unless I’m well and regularly medicated.

I know from firsthand experience that bacteria help me digest things (after getting mauled by a cat and taking a course of antibiotics, I’m very very aware of their effects on my gut), and I’m aware of icky-seeming things like fecal transplants and hookworm therapy, but I don’t know anyone who’s done it. It’s one thing to read about one persuasive success story on the news, but I’m not about to go out and get a head injury to become a genius, either.

Do you know someone who’s infected themselves with hookworm? What were the results?

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