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13 Tips for a Healthy Immune System

It would seem like all of these should be common sense and self-evident (or at least they used to be), but given the growing atmosphere of germophobia and subsequent hypersanitation in the US, as well as having had several housemates who just donít know how to clean up after themselves, I thought Iíd lay out some old-school tips about how to keep your immune system strong.

1. Donít use anti-bacterial soaps or cleaners except on food preparation areas.

2. Wash your hands only when you need to do so: If theyíre dirty, wash them. Use only water and a minimum of soap Ė do not use anti-bacterial soaps. You have a certain amount of bacteria that live on your skin that you NEED. Anti-bacterial soaps can kill these and suppress their role in your immune system.

3. Avoid meats from farms that inject their animals with anti-biotic cocktails. These are unnecessary and end up in you and prevent your immune system from developing properly.. The anti-biotic cocktails used at factory farms really just serve to allow them to keep the animals in otherwise unsanitary conditions.

4. Cook your food thoroughly and properly. Cooking was invented for a reason Ė to kill off anything in our meats that could harm us. As long as you keep your food prep area clean and properly cook your food, you donít have anything to worry about from the likes of salmonella Ė youíll kill that bad boy off before you eat it.

5. Do not use toilet seat covers. They just provide a growth and transfer medium for bacteria. If youíre worried about the cleanliness of that toilet-seat, wipe it off with some folded toilet paper then flush that with which you wiped. Above all, do NOT leave any paper on the toilet seat when youíre done Ė remember, growth medium.

6. There are usually more bacteria on the door knob of a bathroom than on the toilet seat. This is because people donít dry their hands properly after washing them and grab the door handle with wet hands. That standing water becomes a growth medium. If youíre worried about this, grab a paper towel and use that to grasp the handle, then throw it away.

7. GO OUTSIDE. Your immune system needs to be exposed to a certain level of foreign bacteria and virii to function. Essentially, it learns through encounters with these organisms. If it never encounters them, it never develops the ability to recognize them and respond appropriately.

8. You do not need to sanitize your keyboard, your monitor, or anything else that is dry. While there may be some bacteria on a dry item, there wonít be enough to worry about Ė your immune system can handle it, and needs to do so in order to build up is responsiveness. Remember, life needs water.

9. Exercise.

10. Do wash your hands before you prepare food. If you do handle anything else while cooking, make sure you wash again. Again, donít use anti-bacterial soaps.

11. If youíre sick, stay home. I know this isnít always possible, as many employers simply donít give adequate sick leave, and hold it against their employees. But if you can, do so. Itíll give your system a chance to fight it off, and while itís doing so, develop a resistance to that particular bug.

12. Keep your house neat and clean, but donít go crazy. Donít use anti-bacterial cleaners. Do make sure you donít leave garbage lying around to rot, or piles of wet things that could provide growth media. Do not leave food out.

13. If you have kids, send them outside to play. Let them get dirty. Childhood is a critical time for the development of the immune system, and your little angel NEEDS to get dirty and expose themselves to those little critters the media tells you to fear. A dirty child is a child whoís giving their immune system a workout and a chance to develop.

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