May 9, 2013

"[I]nfants whose parents sucked on their pacifiers to clean them developed fewer allergies..."

"... than children whose parents typically rinsed or boiled them. They also had lower rates of eczema, fewer signs of asthma and smaller amounts of a type of white blood cell that rises in response to allergies and other disorders."

ADDED: Saliva is underrated. From the chapter about spit in Mary Roach's "Gulp":
We are large, mobile vessels of the very substances we find most repulsive. Provided they stay within the boundaries of the self, we feel no disgust. They’re part of the whole, the thing we cherish most.

[University of Pennsylvania psychologist] Paul Rozin has given a lot of thought to what he calls the psychological microanatomy of the mouth: Where, precisely, is the boundary between self and nonself? If you stick your tongue out of your mouth while eating and then withdraw it, does the ensalivated food now disgust you? It does not. The border of the self extends the distance of the tongue’s reach. The lips too are considered an extension of the mouth’s interior, and thus are part of the self. Though culture shifts the boundaries. Among religious Brahmin Indians, writes Edward Harper, even the saliva on one’s own lips is considered “extremely defiling,” to the extent that if one “inadvertently touches his fingers to his lips, he should bathe or at the least change his clothes.”

The boundaries of the self are routinely extended to include the bodily substances of those we love. I’m going to let Rozin say this: “Saliva and vaginal secretions or semen can achieve positive value among lovers, and some parents do not find their young children’s body products disgusting.”

18 comments:

Kelly said...

My oldest daughter used a pacifier. She never had allergies of any kind. My youngest refused a pacifier and has allergy asthma.

Frank said...

Which is why I protest against this country's near pathological addiction to hand sanitizers and disinfectants, etc. We are slowly, but surely, letting the germs win...and they will...they far outnumber us.

traditionalguy said...

Sharing Spit is suddenly a good thing again.

Spit was oddly one of the words that did not change in the language history analysis.




edutcher said...

This may be one of those Euro things we want to think about before we take it up.

Darrell said...

Maybe as much of 50% of chronic back pain cases can be cured with antibiotics. It seems that small injuries as they heal--because of new capillary formation during healing--allow normal body bacteria to cluster and form infections that get isolated. Treatment with antibiotics clear up problems that normally were handled (not very successfully) by surgery.

We''l see if back surgeons come around any sooner that gastroenterologists did with ulcers.

FleetUSA said...

So kissing is really good on so many levels. Who knew?

Rliyen said...

Several years ago, I thought I had pinkeye (turned out to be an infected hair follicle on my eyelid). My best friend's father was a doctor and he took a look at it, telling me as such.

When I asked what should I do about it, he said to wet my finger with my saliva and wipe it over the infected area a couple of times a day. When he saw me cock my head to the side, he explained that saliva had antibacterial properties.

Felt sheepish doing it, but by God, after two days the infection cleared up.

Rliyen said...

Several years ago, I thought I had pinkeye (turned out to be an infected hair follicle on my eyelid). My best friend's father was a doctor and he took a look at it, telling me as such.

When I asked what should I do about it, he said to wet my finger with my saliva and wipe it over the infected area a couple of times a day. When he saw me cock my head to the side, he explained that saliva had antibacterial properties.

Felt sheepish doing it, but by God, after two days the infection cleared up.

TMink said...

The healthiest times of my life were when I worked in either a hospital or doctor's office. Oh I got sick about two weeks after I was there with three weeks of this and that. But then I rarely got sick while I worked in that germ rich environment. It was like Gold's Gym for my immune system.

Trey

Krumhorn said...

some parents do not find their young children’s body products disgusting

Just what the hell was that all about??

Captain Curt said...

In the days before commercial baby food, it was common practice in the process of weaning a baby for the mother or other family members to chew solid food into a pulp and give it to the baby. You occasionally hear stories now of 1st generation immigrants in America horrified to see Grandma from the old country feed the baby this way.

It wouldn't surprise me at all to find that this traditional practice would give better health results than our modern hygienic practices.

For about 20 years now, the heretical "hygiene hypothesis" has been gaining ground. Its basic idea is that if a young child's immune system doesn't have anything real to fight, it is likely to become hypersensitive and respond to things it shouldn't, resulting in things like allergies, asthma, and auto-immune reactions. This looks to me like another piece of evidence for that hypothesis.

Synova said...

My son kept spitting his pacifier out into the mud when we were lined up waiting for boats and buses and C140s when we were evacuating from the Philippines. I stuck the sucker in my mouth a dozen times and stuck it back in his.

So... at least he's not going to be allergic to anything tropical, eh?

Michael K said...

Once again, we have so many diseases of civilization. Paralytic polio first was recognized in isolated towns in Scandinavian countries. Cleanliness was typical of those communities and they saw few (but not no) strangers who might carry disease.

Farm children had fewer allergies than city children, and so on.

Achilles said...

Soon bacterial inoculation of the skin and mouth will be a common treatment.

Methadras said...

Oh, you see the germaphobe craze everywhere in advertising now. From antibacterial soap to hand sanitizers, to Microban. Antibacterial soap in and of itself is an oxymoron. Soap is a naturally antibacterial and a disinfectant. That's like selling wet water.

Roadkill said...

I used to hate it when my mother licked a tissue and cleaned my grubby, dirty little face. Perhaps it was not just to keep me looking cleaner, but also to keep me healthier.

Roux said...

Hmmmmm? Maybe that's why my kids are so healthy.

Roux said...

Hmmmmm? Maybe that's why my kids are so healthy.