Vim & Vigor - Spring 2014 - Gwinnett Medical Center - (Page 42)

g! t?i)n s uOT sgN iR D(O BITING YOUR NAILS WHY SOME GROSS HABITS ARE ACTUALLY GOOD FOR YOU I have a son who burps, bites his nails and says he's allergic to the shower. And he has lots of company. A number of children (and adults) have these inclinations. But as it turns out, some of these socially unacceptable habits have redeeming health benefits. So, even if Miss Manners might not approve, go ahead and be gross. But not in front of me, please. 42 SPRING 2 014 PHOTOGRAPHY BY THINKSTOCK BY BARRIE GILLIES THE UPSIDE: The germs you ingest through nail bits and grits may boost your immune system. HOW IT WORKS: The young immune system is strengthened when exposed to everyday germs, and what better microbial meet-and-greet than the grime-harboring space beneath our nails? "Ninety percent of your cellular makeup is germs, not human cells," says microbiologist Philip Tierno, PhD, the author of The Secret Life of Germs. "In fact, their presence keeps the immune system strong." As a child grows, his immune system needs to come into contact with microorganisms to develop. "Exposure to germs teaches the immune system to distinguish between harmless and harmful bacteria. Too little exposure can lead to an immune system that doesn't know how to regulate itself, which in turn can lead to autoimmune disorders such as allergies. It's possible that biting your nails would expose a person to beneficial germs that, in turn, would boost his or her immune response." CAVEAT: According to Tierno, most microorganisms are harmless, but some can make us sick, so don't dismiss good personal and household hygiene. Be sensible about cleanliness: Make sure everyone in the family washes their hands with soap and water (for at least 20 seconds) after being in crowded public areas, after using the bathroom, and before eating or preparing food.

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Vim & Vigor - Spring 2014 - Gwinnett Medical Center

Vim & Vigor - Spring 2014 - Gwinnett Medical Center
Phil’s Feature
Staying Ahead of Concussions
The Recovery Zone
Occupational Hazards
The New Rules of Play
Shopping for Two
Back to Basics
Burn, Baby, Burn
Angelina Jolie
Rock Your Health
Breaking Up with Salt
Disgusting! (or Not?)
Virtual Health
PrimeTime Health
Ready, Set, Run!
You Can Change the World
Out of the White Coat
Transforming Healthcare

Vim & Vigor - Spring 2014 - Gwinnett Medical Center