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WSJ: Covid and the ‘Hygiene Hypothesis’ — Masking and Social Distancing doing Long Term Damage to Our Immune Systems?


Interesting take!

WSJ: Covid and the ‘Hygiene Hypothesis’

2022-02-01, by Eran Bendavid. Emphasis added.

Measures like masking and social distancing may be doing long-term damage to our immune systems

Maintaining good health is often a balancing act. Too much food and we develop obesity, diabetes and heart disease. Too little food and we see stunting and wasting. This kind of equilibrium applies to our interactions with bacteria, viruses, parasites and other microbes. Too much exposure to some microbes leads to disease, and so does too little. 

The intensification of hygienic policies with the advent of Covid-19 was understandable. But long-term masking, deep cleaning, distancing and isolation can be harmful to health, especially for children, precisely because it reduces exposure to microbes. Hygiene practices have health risks as well as benefits.

...increasingly antiseptic populations also experience increasing rates of asthma, allergies, Type 1 diabetes, Crohn’s disease and other diseases with a significant autoimmune component.

The idea that exposure to some infectious agents is protective against immune-related disorders isn’t new and comes with significant scientific heft. The so-called hygiene hypothesis is constructed from epidemiologic evidence, laboratory studies and clinical trials that, put together, support the notion that an excessive emphasis on antisepsis is implicated in misalignments of the immune system that risk disease. 

Allergic and autoimmune diseases are far less common in communities with less hygiene, and autoimmune disorders increase in children who migrate from areas with less emphasis on hygiene to areas with more emphasis... Avoiding exposure to some microbes prevents the immune system from training well and predisposes to autoimmune diseases.

The risk of untoward consequences from excessive hygiene is particularly striking 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. 


WIND: not to mention the legalized child abuse of vaccinating children as young as 6 months for COVID, children at nil risk of any harm and possibly even benefitting from a COVID infection (who can say otherwise for sure?)!

The law of unintended consequences is like the law of gravity—you can never escape its repercussions except in the short term. That’s why falling off a cliff is no risk at all—until you hit bottom.

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