I wish today to speak of hygiene. According to *this article* that I read the other day, too much hygiene can cause you to have allergies.
The article gives as an example the Amish community in America, whose people have hardly any allergies. Why so? It’s because they live as men used to in the 19th century, with pit toilets, no running water, and no electricity. Little Amish babies are therefore exposed to far more germs than are little non-Amish babies. Hence little Amish babies develop the sort of immunity to germs that little non-Amish babies don’t.
Having myself entered this world in the 19th century, and brought up as boys of the 19th century were, I can concur with the findings in this article. I myself have never had any allergies, and my Mater and Pater didn’t, and no-one else that I knew, or knew of, did either. I didn’t even know what an allergy was until recently. It seems that today, if you don’t have at least one allergy there’s something wrong with you.
At boarding schools when I was a boy, and also in the Army, the cooks slopped your food into a tin receptacle with several separate depressions, each for a different type of food. So for breakfast your porridge was slopped into one depression, and your eggs and bacon into another, and so on. But as you carried your tray back to your bench to eat your food, some of the porridge might float into the eggs and bacon, and some of the eggs and bacon might float into the porridge. You may as well have had just one bowl, with the porridge and milk and eggs and bacon and toast and jam and sugar and whatnot all mixed up together.
When the cooks prepared soup they spat into it from time to time because that was just what cooks then did. On eating your soup you didn’t even think about the spit and the resultant germs that might be in it.
Upon finishing your food you took your tin receptacle outside to a cold-water tap, that you turned on to clean the receptacle with only your bare hands. Even after being washed, the tin receptacles always had a permanent film of grease because you couldn’t get rid of all the grease with just cold water and your hands.
Hence you were exposed to lots of germs then that you don’t get exposed to today because there were no washing detergents and whatnot. I’ll bet the Amish of America don’t use detergents and whatnot when they wash their dirty dishes either. This is no doubt another reason they have hardly any allergies, just as it was with the men and boys of my time.
Our resistance to germs stood us in good stead when we were wallowing in the mud and filth and excrement and getting bitten by rats in the trenches in France during the Great War. Had we cleaned our dirty dishes with hot water and liquid detergent instead of with just cold water, we would have dropped dead en masse from disease in the trenches. We would thus have lost the War, and today you would be speaking German instead of English.