Bacteria . . .
We have met the enemy and they are Us!
Did you know that the latest scientific research shows the number of bacteria within the average healthy, human body out-number human cells by ten to one? That’s not a typo: only 10% of the cells in your body are NOT microbes.
YIKES! Grab the washcloth, get out the soap, slather on that antibacterial gel!! As Pogo observed in the comic strip written by Walt Kelly, “We have met the enemy and they are us.”
Are We Infested By Aliens?
You might feel better to know that the microbes within us are smaller than human cells. By percentages, we are about 90% non-human; by weight, we are only 0.5% non-human. So you don’t need to expect to see a Vulcan or a Klingon looking back at you from the mirror just yet.
As it turns out, bacteria got a bad rap. Early in our history, when doctors discovered that bacteria are the cause of some serious infections, they jumped to the conclusion that all bacteria are bad. But that turns out not to be true. We humans are utterly dependent on the microbes that live on us and within us. They enable us to digest food, strengthen our immune system; they even turn genes on and off. Without them, we would die.
Just as we had to learn that not all teenagers are juvenile delinquents, we need to learn to accept and, well, even encourage the offspring of these friendly organisms we depend on. Maybe we should focus more on rehabilitating them, instead of marginalizing them with sweeping antibiotic programs. We could offer a path to happy co-habitation for those microbes who have demonstrated their willingness to abide by rules. By eating more yogurt, prebiotics and probiotics, perhaps we could invite upstanding microbes to step into the jobs they do so well.
Our soaps are antibacterial. Our household cleaners promise to kill 99.9% of germs. To us, microbes are bad, plain and simple. But at the same time, some scientists now confirm that being too clean is also wrong, and might even be a precursor to asthma and allergy conditions.
End Discrimination Against Bacteria!!
Join me in proclaiming that it is time to end discimination against bacteria now!
End the wanton use of penicillin, amoxicillin and whatever-cillin; ban antibacterial soap. Stand up and embrace a microbe today!