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16 February 2012

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Because I don't have kids, what struck me was STD. My eye doctor told me the new phrase is now "sexually transmitted infection". I wonder if it will catch on since I still hear this called VD.

I guess I'm kind of lucky - if it's not the kind of stuff found in the books from the last menage, I'm pretty oblivious. Wash hands. Got it.

I'm not an expert, but there is a huge backlash against raising children in a completely antiseptic world (some connection with that and the incredible rise in autoimmune disorders). Not that you and CRjr (as well as Mr. CR) should not wash hands, but probably you don't need antibacterial soap, and you should let CRjr play in the mud, get licked by dogs, etc. Small challenges to the immune system are important to make it stronger. I don't have kids either, so all my parenting advice is pretty worthless...

Venta,
Great eye. I checked in the book and the term is indeed "sexually transmitted infections"--I hadn't looked that closely at that chapter because, well, I don't need to think about the teenage years. However, in the chapter itself there is this:
"25% of U.S. adolescents become infected with a sexually transmitted disease before they finish high school."

First of all, yikes. Second of all, there they use "STD," so maybe they changed the chapter heading but not the text. It was published in 2011 so it's pretty recent.

Marmota,
Actually, I like advice and conversation with people who don't have kids--people with kids are always more concerned about bragging/one-upping each other than actually sharing information.

And thank you for the info about soaps, mud, etc. Trust me: my high tolerance for filth in my house ensures that CRjr will not be raised in anything like an antiseptic environment. We were out stomping in puddles the other day and I fully expect to do some mud-pie making this spring.

I will keep washing my hands, though. Ever since working at the public library it is an ingrained habit. I wash my face when I come home too, and I think that's made a huge difference in my number of colds, etc. Plus it just feels good.

I am not only highly tolerant of household dirt, but seem to have entirely missed the housecleaning gene (it was replaced by the incessant-reader gene, a good thing in my job but it will never win me any Good Housekeeping awards).

Which turns out to be a good thing in the overall scheme of things, because our son, who had some health problems when tiny, is now a hardy soul with none of the asthma/bronchitis/allergies that have plagued my generation. [Although "I did it for you, kid" somehow loses its influence when you're trying to explain why the dust bunnies have bred so enthusiastically that you can't see the other side from under the bed ...]

Wash your hands and CRJr's, definitely. But just plain soap and water is fine (sometimes I think we should have stock in the Ivory company). Don't stress about the dirt until you can't climb over it. And interestingly, if you're looking for validation to have a pet, studies show that kids raised in a house with at least one pet are healthier. Can't be goldfish though; must be a mammal.

Perhaps my own knowledge of the topic is just as suspect as those on the other side of the debate, but I think vaccines are great; germs are part of life and are everywhere and humans weren't made to be germ free; and anti-bacterial soap not only weakens your body's ability to fend off things, but it is wreaking havoc with our sanitation system which relies on bacteria to break down solid waste, etc. And I think the best thing you can do for your child is use antibiotics only for illnesses that actually respond to antibiotics. Nervous parents and over-zealous pharmaceutical companies have needless turned our country into antibiotic junkies. Of course I am no doctor so it is all just my bias. :)

Thomas,
Granted, vaccines can be very very good. As my sister would say, "I don't fully trust them, but when I hear stuff is around, I always run down the list and am happy my kids have the vaccination for that..."

My issues with doctors (I hate them) are well known, and are most of the problem. The last time we went I asked some questions about the chicken pox vaccine, and the not-so-helpful nurse told me CRjr should get it because "kids have died from chicken pox, you know." That's the sort of half-ass strong-arming I could live without.

Agreed on antibiotics, although a greater problem than overzealous parents is the way antibiotics are fed, wholesale, to pretty much all of the farm animals in our factory farm system. As always: humans discovered a helpful thing, and then they went about abusing the shit out of it.

I don't mind hearing your bias(es). I've got a load of them myself so it's a pleasure to hear other people's, frankly.

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