If You Love Your Child, Be Amish

If You Love Your Child, Be Amish

Adrienne BoettingerWednesday,2 April 2014

The Snap:

There was a kid in grade school named Sarah something. She was allergic to everything, like to the point where she could only eat rice cakes and go outside in a bubble. Other than her, the class was pretty much allergy-free. But that’s because I’m ancient and grew up in the 1980s when I was routinely talked into eating mud by my slightly dominant friend. Now the sight of a jar of peanut butter can send a class of kindergartners to the ER. So what the hell is going on anyway? Where can you go and what can you do to get rid of allergies? And how the hell am I not allergic to anything but my eyes keep swelling shut?

The Download:

A constant refrain you’ll hear is that modern day kids and young adults are the least independent, most coddled, and most over-awarded generation ever. They get rewarded for showing up, are only allowed outside on leashes, and are never punished. Of course, that’s BS for a lot of kids; there’s not a lot of factual evidence to say that this generation is more entitled or weaker than any other. The same can’t be said for allergies.

It’s not just that allergies seem to be on the rise; they are. For realsies. The number of kids with food allergies has risen 18 percent from 1997 to 2007. If you broaden the picture and look at all allergy symptoms and asthma, one in five people in the United States is affected.

In fact, the United States appears to be going for the gold when it comes to allergens as in we — and other industrialized countries — have a metric buttload of them in comparison to other countries. A study looking at Amurican-born children found 34 percent developed allergy diseases compared with 20 percent of fureign-born Amurican children. Fureign-born children who lived in the United States for 10 years were 3 times as likely to develop allergy diseases as those who only lived here for 2 years.

Of course, no one knows why. There’s a bunch of theories out there — many of which seem 2 legit 2 quit — but none have been proven categorically true. One that make sense is that we’re not dirty enough. With our antibacterial hand sanitizers and our rarely leaving our suburban or urban environments, our kids aren’t exposed to as near as much dirt as their farm-raised counterparts. As we’ve previously established, I’m mildly obsessed with the Amish; when it comes to allergens, I have good reason. Amish children tend to have lower rates of allergies than their English counterparts.

We spend an alarming 90 percent of our lives indoors. Just the thought of it makes me feel claustrophobic. We keep our kids from having peanut butter or glasses of milk until they are 35 years old and then only when they are in an ICU. I’m not saying I wouldn’t do the same if I had kids; it’s gotta be scary letting them go out into the world and fall down, eat dirt and run around.

There’s no one answer or solution that will cure your own allergies or make your children less likely to suffer from them.  But the more antibiotics we cram down our throats and the less exposed our guts are to healthy bacteria, the sicker we get. So get some of that poop-inducing yogurt that Jamie Lee Curtis hawks, stick a weirdo device up your nose to block allergens, get a better air filter, and maybe take your kid outside to get a little dirty.

 

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Hat Tips:

PBSCNNNPRFox NewsEPANPR, Image Credit: Flickr



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