Asthma is a common ailment. There are currently about five million children suffering
from asthma in the United States of America. Asthma is a common reason why many
children stay home from school. It has been estimated that in the year 2002, there
will be 29 million asthma patients. In the last 20 years, the number of people
diagnosed with asthma has increased by 1.5 times. This increase in the number
of asthma cases had caught the attention of the medical field and researchers
alike. At a convention held on asthma in New York on March 1, 2002, scientists
announced a surprising discovery. The reason that asthma is on the rise is not
because the air is polluted or because of dust particles, but because our environment
is getting cleaner.
These new studies also showed that if children escaped various infections during
infancy, then their immune systems would overreact when exposed to dust and other
foreign matter and this causes allergic reactions or asthma. Research shows that
children from poor nations are frequently sick, but they rarely get asthma. It’s
interesting to note that East Germany had a low incidence of asthma before Germany
was reunited. After the fall of the Berlin Wall, the incidence of asthma increased
in East Germany.
Andy Liu from an asthma clinic in the National Jewish Hospital in Denver said,
“Our clean living ways perhaps might be leading to this global rise in asthma
and allergies.” Researchers also discovered that children from day care centers
have a lower risk of developing asthma because they are sick more often. Children
raised on farms are also more resistant to asthma.
This new research offers us a chance to reflect upon ourselves. There is an
ancient Chinese principle, “if a child frequently suffers from minor illnesses,
no major diseases will befall him.” This ancient wisdom sums up why it’s
not a bad thing for a child to be sick once in a while, since he’ll grow
up to be a healthier person. It has been scientifically proven that this ancient
wisdom is correct when it comes to asthma. This leads to another question that
we must ask ourselves. If people get more infections living in dirty environments,
and clean environments give rise to asthma and allergies, then in what environment
should humans be living?
Since the 18th century, when Robert Krevers concluded that external influences
cause sickness, humans began their never-ending quest to find the causes of
illness by searching for bacteria, viruses and other environmental factors.
In the last few hundred years, medical research has been faced with an annoying
fact. Every medical breakthrough leads mankind toward a worse predicament. For
example, every time we create a new antibiotic, we breed a new germ that’s
resistant to this antibiotic. We are then caught in a vicious cycle. We develop
new antibiotics to kill resistant bacteria. Then, the bacteria become resistant
to this new antibiotic. Developed nations are cleaning up their environments
and minimizing infectious diseases, but these new environment are perfect breeding
grounds for asthma and allergies. It’s obvious that controlling the environment
can’t control sickness. Doesn’t it make you wonder what the real cause
of disease is?
Posting date: 28/Nov/2006
Original article date: 2/Apr/2002