Natural Immunity

“More than 50 million people around the world died during the 1918-1919 flu pandemic. That’s why we have epidemiologists all over the world tracking whether new strains of flu emerge.” ~ Tom Frieden

A few shorts weeks ago on our other site Weekly Prompts, G.C. wrote a word-prompt article ATM Germs  about how easy it was to pick up influenza germs from an ATM machine. He was quite certain that the machine was the cause of the mild flu he was suffering from. 

I have no idea whether or not this was the source of his infection it could just have easily been a supermarket trolley, or some careless person’s cough or a sneeze into the air we breathe. The point is that science has proved that poor hygiene promoted the bacterial super-infection that killed most of the victims during the 1918 flu pandemic.

Imagine a pandemic today, with infected victims flying around the world at high-speed, coughing, sneezing and infecting others who are unfortunate enough to be breathing the same air, with some still ignorant of basic hygiene.  A scenario that could happen all too easily and one the health organisations fear.

We were all at liberty to draw our own conclusions from G.C’s article and some did.

When reading some of the pingbacks to the word-prompt, I noticed one or two people had begun scoffing at the idea of catching flu from an ATM machine. Some blamed over cleanliness as a reason for flu! I can understand their skepticism, it’s easy to judge, especially given the adverse publicity on modern day high standards of cleanliness.

This week GC has a cold and yesterday on his own site The Main Aislehe wrote another article about catching germs. 

I would need to use all ten of my fingers if I were to count the amount of times GC has suffered from some ailment or another this year.  It’s no joke, he’s not a hypochondriac it’s simply in the genes, and given his susceptibility, it’s hardly surprising he shows mild signs of paranoia towards germs.

Genes: Let’s take two of my daughters, each of them has a toddler, the children play together often and both attend a nursery a couple of days a week. One toddler catches every bug and virus, the other catches nothing. So why is this?

A study on British volunteers showed that some people are genetically predisposed to stave off the flu and other bugs, while others become ill time and time again.

A group of healthy people were inoculated with the flu virus and their progress monitored for five days. Nine of the group became ill and the rest showed no symptoms at all.

“Those who became sick developed an acute inflammation on certain genes 36 hours before the symptoms set in. This ‘genetic signature’ was most marked in those who were suffering the worst. Meanwhile, those who remained fine were found to have activated a totally different genetic signature. This discovery raises the possibility that we could find a way to detect flu early, and take preventative action before the worst effects develop. This is very important science,  It has very big implications for many infectious diseases, not only flu. ‘It could help with flu pandemics and even allow us to detect lethal infections such as the ebola virus at a very early stage.” ~ Professor Peter Openshaw, of the Centre for Respiratory Infection at Imperial College.

(C) SueW-nansfarm.net 2018. Linked to Fandango’s One Word Prompt ‘Draw’ and the word-prompt “ATM Germs’ from our other site Weekly Prompts.

13 thoughts on “Natural Immunity

    1. Me too Peter and probably the same for others in our generation including Gerry. Evie and William play in the garden, pull the dog around and come into contact with germs each day, but Evie remains the healthier of the two. Oh just one thing, I don’t remember eating worms! 😀

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  1. It’s quite frightening, Sue. I’m sure I’ve picked up viruses through the likes of aircraft ventilation when flying back from a holiday. It’s a much smaller world than it was when the pandemic crisis last hit. I hope my immunity is still as good as 30 years ago.

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    1. I hope so too Trev. I had the flu jab but picked up my flu and chest infection before the vaccination had chance to work, very unfortunate.They say the flu season starts October. I picked up mine late September and did the same thing six years ago,that time I ended up in hospital, this time I was luckier.

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      1. I should have the flu after a bout of pneumonia a few years ago, but I haven’t been able to get over my phobia of needles. 😦
        I know the flu jab is forecast about 5 years ahead because of the different strains. However, every now and then they get it wrong, which is quite rare and people complain that it doesn’t work.

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      2. I also had the pneumonia jab a couple of years ago and last year the shingles one. I don’t enjoy needles but it doesn’t worry about them

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  2. Genetically predisposed not withstanding, I wonder how much of our ailments can be attributed to our eating habits and the quality of our food. Over processing, additives, and fast food must have some effect on our immune system and the bodies natural ability to look after itself. Growing up in the 50’s and living on a farm, I was not exposed to any of that. That is a completely different picture today for children growing up. Those healthy eating habits are still with me today. Never have had the flu shot, never have had the flu. Just lucky? Just wondering. Now excuse me while I get my hamburger and fries!! Cheers.

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    1. Hello again Dan, that was my childhood era too, not a McDonald’s in sight!

      I caught the flu six years ago, side effect was a chest infection that hospitalised me, otherwise I’m always well. However, I’m just getting over another flu bug and chest infection, I didn’t get the shot soon enough.

      As much as I don’t like the idea, we do become more vulnerable to flu as we get older and it’s a fact we can’t hide from which is why over here in England everyone is offered the shot when they hit 65, including all those younger with heart problems or asthma. The hospitals get over crowded with flu victims in winter and I assume the flu shot is cheaper than caring for them in hospital. Persuading people to get the free shot is often difficult.
      The National Health Service here is wonderful, but the winter flu is a hard one and overstretches the resources. Thanks Dan.

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  3. I think I had a cold last year, might have been the year before, I don’t get them very often; and I’m not very nice to live with when i do.
    The War Office will tell you that I’m not very nice to live with Full Stop!

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  4. gc

    There is a place for healthy skepticism but many of the cynical folks out there are the same ones who sit patiently in the medical clinic waiting for their family physician to help them fight their aches, pains and other complaints due to their unfounded beliefs in their natural ability ( or inability) to fight infection.

    Many people view the flu vaccine serum as “garbage” and would not get a flu shot ( jab as you like to call it) if their very lives depended on it. Many times their lives do depend on trusting medical science to save them from misery.

    If germs were not a real threat then why do so many health professionals staunchly recommend you wash your hands frequently during the cold and flu season.Are they merely hypochondriacs spouting gibberish or is there a bit of truth to their warnings? The truth is out there folks. 🙂

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    1. Oh I so agree with you. Why else would health centers offer masks, and banks offer hand wipes/ I hate to add this, but, we cannot hide from the fact that beyond the age of 65 if the flu bug hits, it hits with a vengeance because our bodies cannot fight illness quite as well as they once did. 🙂

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