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Tuesday, November 12, 2013

My Microbiome

Sheep By The Outpaddock, Colonial Williamsburg

There was an article in the Sunday New York Times about the many, many allergies and related conditions affecting us today, and the connection with the fact that more and more we are an urban nation, tend to live more in cities, and fewer people are exposed to the environments of farming.

A Cure For The Allergy Epidemic?

I have been thinking about it since then. I have some sort of low-level allergy all year long, and other seasonal ones which change how they present themselves as time goes by.

However, there was one year, 2011, during which I had an unprecedented freedom from sinus congestion and sniffling. I have been trying to discover why. I knew the freedom from allergy started after February and in the Spring before June 1. It ended just after Christmas.

Yesterday, my wife was looking at pictures of our trip to Virginia and Colonial Williamsburg, and I looked at them all. I had spent a good deal of time at one farm with small, rolling hillocks where a mother sheep and her four offspring were. I had about eight pictures of them, the meadow, the brick-walled outpaddock in the meadow where agricultural and herding implements seemed to be stored. (I have no idea what such an enclosure in the middle of the field would be called, so I called it an "outpaddock".)

The camera had a time/date stamp:  April 11, 2011.

That was it, I thought; it was my exposure to the sheep farm that gave me some freedom from allergies for a while.
How did it happen, though? I wondered if I needed to spend days doing some farm type work, or just sit in the fields and read a book. How would this innoculation work, and how did one go about it?

So this morning it dawned on me that since it was sinus congestion, the sinuses undoubtedly have their own microbiome. Therefore, the delivery system for the allergy antidote would merely be breathing!
Just go to the farm and breathe for a while, letting the microbes settle into the sinuses.

I shall run the experiment in Spring 2014. I think the weather now is too wintery.


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