As we navigate through daily life in this pandemic, what some are trademarking as our “new normal” (I despise those words, and want to throat-punch whoever says it, every time), I worry greatly for those born between 1995 and 2015 the most – generation Z, the ones aged 5 to 25. I worry for them the most, more than the elderly, more than the high risk. The elderly want to see their grandkids. The immunocompromised people are used to extra measures to protect themselves, that has not changed. I worry about the complete disregard of the health and wellbeing of the already healthy youth. Generation Z is our future, they are also old enough to remember all of this that is happening right now. Every business closure, job loss, new regulation, human emotion, and reaction. They are also being robbed of their childhood. Nothing about this is normal.
When was the last time your child played in a sandbox?
Yes, those dirty, disgusting little boxes of germs, snot, and fun. While I cannot speak of your childhood, I can share bits of mine with you. I played in a sandbox, I played outside, I climbed on dirty community playgrounds, and bless my heart got lost in the ball pit at McDonald’s.
What is my point?
Our immune system needs to be exposed to germs to do its job. We were born perfect. Everything designed to work as it should. Somewhere along the line, humans thought we could do better than nature, and if this modern-day “plague”, has reminded us of anything it should be how small we truly are. Mother Earth sat us all down and started to heal. If we do not start listening to Mother Earth, I fear the next plague will be worse, I was reading just the other day that a new super swine flu has been discovered in China. By invading these creatures’ homes they get “stressed” and their diseases move to humans.
I worry about the constant hand sanitizing, and masks on our little humans whose lungs aren’t even fully developed.
So how does the immune system work? When our bodies are exposed to antigens (a toxin or other foreign substance which induces an immune response in the body, especially the production of antibodies), immunoglobulins (B cells) start producing antibodies to fight the antigens. Most of the time those antibodies remain inside our bodies, in case we are exposed to those same germs, viruses, or bacteria again, so our body is always on offense and ready to fight it again.
For this reason, the reinfection of many viruses does not happen a second time, this is called acquired immunity. Acquired immunity can be developed by a vaccine or by naturally being infected with a disease. A few examples of diseases that typically do not occur in the same host (person) more than once are measles, mumps, and chickenpox.
I really do believe in attempting to protect the people with preexisting conditions, the immune-compromised, the elderly, but at what expense?
At the expense of my children having no immune system when they reach adulthood? How about your children? That does not seem fair to me. This is my opinion, and I do not expect everyone to agree with me. If we all agreed, there would be world peace, Mother Earth wouldn’t be damaged, and plagues would not keep popping up.
I reached out to some of my favorite mom friends for comments and below are some of the Q’s and A’s.
Q: Are you concerned that by isolating our children during the pandemic as recommended by the CDC they will have long term challenges? Such as weakened immune systems from underuse now, or social challenges from increased interaction with adults, and decreased interactions with children? Or any other long term issues?
A: Malikah Karim, Certified Health Coach, Registered Yoga Instructor, and Professional Development Facilitator says “Immune systems don’t forget, and I know my children are not in a microbial isolation bubble by being at home more often. As a family, we have not decided to hunker down inside in totality. We spend time in the dirt, on trails, and at stores for what we need with our children. Viral load is a relevant element to consider in the choices we all must make around exposure-related decisions. I have fed my munchkins the nutrition and lifestyle that provide immune strength since they were in my womb, and I know that no measures can completely eliminate COVID exposure, so I am happy to trust that their bodies can manage limited exposure, and I wouldn’t be surprised to find out that they have already built a degree of immunity. We do, however, wear masks in indoor public spaces and practice social distancing to protect those in our community that are more vulnerable. I am confident that immune functionality, joy, and enriching relationships with friends are still happening with my children, and that is enough for me.”
A: Sierra Magee, Self Employed Mom says “I have serious concerns about our son’s social challenges. He is an anxious child. He is an only child. His ability to thrive socially has always been a concern and now with COVID, it is even more of a concern. We have a few select friends who our son has been allowed to interact with during COVID. Keeping him completely isolated from other children was not an option. We do our best to encourage and practice social distancing, but there is a degree of risk in everything we do and as parents, as members of the community, I can honestly say we are doing our best to follow guidelines while also doing what is best for us and our family.”
A: Shannon Somogyi, Wellness Coordinator, and Yoga Therapist tells me “I AM CONCERNED about the long-term effects. However, we started allowing him to play with just two friends in our cul de sac a few weeks ago. We also started seeing a few friends at home. So, we have been slowly integrating others back into our daily lives. I am a firm believer in science and the immune system. Research has shown that we need to be exposed to germs and bacteria on a daily basis, so that our immune systems can build a resistance to such viruses. Thus, eliciting an “immune response” for our bodies to fight off illness and dis-ease. By slowly integrating people back into our daily lives, I feel we are building our immune systems! But… you won’t see me at any large events just yet.”
Q: Do you feel that you were prepared for the COVID-19 pandemic? How so?
A: Kasfia Rashid, Accountant says “Not even a tiny bit. It hit like a ton of bricks and demanded everything stop and restart. Thankfully it was a Friday.”
A: Shannon Somogyi, “I do feel that I was prepared for this. We’ve been homeschooling for the past five years and felt we had a handle on that piece. I had also personally begun to pull away from my own career many months before COVID. My intuition led me to a slower pace with our family. So it was “easy” for us to settle in.”
A: Joy Langford, Stay-at-home-mom of 2 beautiful adopted toddlers tells me “We do not take our children in public because of their weakened immune systems and are at a much higher risk than other children. My husband and I take turns with childcare while the other goes into public to run required household errands. We will not take our children into public until there is a COVID-19 and/ or coronavirus vaccination.”
Q: What has been your biggest struggle as a parent this year to date?
A: Bonnie Coffa, Independent Toxicology Consultant tells me “Biggest struggle was finding balance and accepting that I can’t be everything and that’s ok. There were some weeks where everything was mediocre at best and others a total shitshow.”
A: Ashley Lane, Registered Nurse says “Being high-risk pregnancy, the stress of the pandemic and lack of certain items in stores, first it was toilet paper, then sanitizer, then meat. I would do grocery pickup to avoid nasty stares of taking my 3 yr old and 6 yr old in with me, but many of my items I ordered were sold out. So, I would have to leave them with my husband or have him go out in my place. Having to push carts around with masks on, already very out of breath was a struggle for me also.”
Q: What are your thoughts on masks?
A: Shannon Somogyi, “I do not believe in their efficacy. I made this decision based on recent findings such as:
~The US Surgeon General even came out saying it does NOT help in preventing the spread of COVID.
~The WHO recently stated that asymptomatic carriers do not spread COVID.
~The CDC also stated that the virus does not live on surfaces.
So, I feel confident in my decision. Also, my freedoms do not end where others’ fear begins.”
A: Ashley Lane, “I try to make my kids wear them, mostly because I am too pregnant to argue my point. I’m 9 months now, I am very big and out of breath. I try to save my breath; I avoid taking them in places at all costs if I’m able. They do not wear them correctly, my 6 yr old takes it off of his nose and twists the ear loop around, also touches his face. My 3-year-old almost had a meltdown in the post office yesterday because she did not want to wear it. I totally almost teared up with her, I just said “Mama gets it, baby, I’m miserable too. I’m sorry you have to wear it”, and I hugged her.”
To summarize, I think it is important to attempt to understand one another, and do your own research, and make the best decisions for your family.
Brandi Bovell is a part-time licensed massage therapist, aesthetician, certified natural health coach, marketing coach, and a totally wonderful business owner. She is a FULL-TIME superhero and mom. You can follow her here.