Now that I am a New Yorker I am more conscious, and could even be described as borderline crazy, about germs. I mean touching the rails in the subway alone is so disgusting to me I could almost dry heave at the thought. Thank heavens for Herban Essential wipes. I can’t remember now how we found the brand for 3floz but those little wipes keep me from going insane and falling into the laps of strangers on the subway while trying to avoid touching anything, true story.
I know exposure to some germs is necessary to build up your immune system but what is really keeping my body safe from the grotesque things I touch every day? Why are we not all always sick? Self Magazine interviewed Michael Chandler MD clinical assistant professor of medicine in the division of immunology at Mount Sinai Medical Center who did a great job of describing our 3 main lines of defense against the germs we are all up against every day:
- Fortress| Our skin, the linings of our mouth, nose, lungs and intestines are the walls -they are the first barrier against intruders trying to get inside and cause illness and injury.
- Guards| Stationed along the walls are soldier cells called macrophages. Their job is to capture sneaky viruses and bacteria and destroy them. These macrophages can’t catch everything so they send a message to your body’s infection-fighting white blood cells that it’s time to go on high alert.
- Troops Patrol the Field| As white blood cells scan your bloodstream and lymph nodes for rogue bugs, they create anti-bodies. The proteins bind to neutralize whatever germ is attempting to damage healthy cells. Sometimes, though, things don’t quite work out. The rank and file may be exhausted, or the invaders manage to overwhelm your defenses and you get sick. Good news is that the next time the same bug tries to infiltrate your body, your immune system will recognize it and fight it off more effectively.
So the good news is that our bodies know how to fight against disgusting germs and with the help of anti-bacterial products, used in recommended doses, people like me can ride the subway without having complete breakdowns…that is until the homeless man next to you poops and then no one can help you! TRUE STORY!