Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Giving up a cat because of a child

This is an article about a woman who had to give up her cat because her son was severely allergic. I think she was as responsible as she could be - her son was suffering, and she had found a new home with her brother.

What DOES bother me though are the people who still think that just in 'case' a child is allergic, an animal should be tossed out of the house. I remember a couple who came to adopt a cat. The then-fiancee was obviously less interested in the cat but was agreeable to the adoption. Things got worse after they got married - and the minute they had a baby, the cat was tossed out. Not because the baby was allergic - just because it was a cat and it had to go.

People often wonder why it is that children seem more allergic these days than in the past - as many of you know if you've been reading the blog long enough, I think it has to do with desensitisation. Farm studies seem to back this up.


Anonymous said...

Yesterday, I asked my helper how she managed to remain flu-less since she has been with us for 12 yrs while i have one (despite yearly flu jab) almost every year? She said it was the way they were brought up in the villages - unhygienic conditions. All her 10 siblings live to adulthood in rural environment.
Urbanites are allergic to dust, pet's fur, certain types of food like peanuts, grass & even to our own sweat. It will get more difficult progressively.

Hug a cat or dog(if you can)today ;)

Ng said...

One huge culprit is our diet. Our ancestors ate wholesome foods, natural foods, nutritional foods. We, on the other hand, stuff ourselves with junk food, animal carcasses, cow's milk, preservatives, chemicals. These are all the slow, silent killers.

Dawn said...

Anonymous - that's true.

Ng - I don't actually know if that's true. When you mean ancestors, how far back are we talking? I actually think that while of course, we have more chemicals to worry about and preservatives, that we actually eat a lot better than our predecessors. At least those of us who live in developed countries don't have to worry about starvation - or regularly hunting to kill our own meat or harvest our own grain.

yskat said...

I read somewhere that the widespread use of antibiotics may also have contributed to allergies becoming much more common.

Ng said...

Not talking about starvation, that's another extreme.

We don't need that much food to survive. Quantity does not equal quality. A simple meal of a few kinds of vegetables is much more beneficial than a huge feast of meats and refined foods. People tend to think that we eat much better today, but fact is, we're stuffed but under-nourished, eating the wrong kinds of food, most of which are not even fit to be called 'food', they don't supply our body with its required nourishment. If you walk through the supermarket and really look at the ingredients on the labels, you'll be shocked that most of the 'food' is unnatural stuff. They don't kill you immediately, they just weaken you slowly. And a weakened system will be passed on to its next generation.

Singapore's Teresa Hsu eats very minimal a day, but she's healthy. Eat lesser, feel lighter, live longer. (Of course I believe her health is also greatly due to the great love she has for everyone.)

Not having to harvest our own grains and veg also means less exercise, less sunshine, less contact with nature, hence lower immunity.

And yes, antibiotics should be shunned.


eslina said...

Some people think that their kids will have asthma if they keep the cat/s at home. I won't be surprised if some of my relatives worry that my kid will get asthma someday because I have a cat. Ironically, I have nieces and nephews who have asthma but never had any animals at home since they were babies.

Somehow there's this perception that your house won't be clean enough if you keep animals in the house.

Some would even go to extreme sanitization once they have kids thinking that that would help the kids grow up strong.

I think people need to be more aware about immunity & how extreme hygiene affects our immune system.

I've seen shows about studies on urban kids with many kinds of allergies. Makes me wonder, if these urban kids can have so many health issues, what about kids in poor countries living in slums or the streets? Won't they have more health problems?? So far though I haven't seen any shows which studies the health of kids in poor countries. I won't be surprised if they have less health issues or allergies though ;)

Btw, none in my family has any asthma or allergies and some of my older siblings ever told me their childhood stories of playing in the pigs' pen when my family were living in a Chinese kampung... ironic isn't it??

Dawn said...

ysakt - yes that's certainly possible.

Ng - I don't disagree with you that there is a lot of stuff wrong with our food system (antibiotics fed to chickens, battery farming, etc). I also don't disagree about the fact that meat isn't essential to our diet.

I think though that often there is a disconnect between what is 'natural' and the idea that what our ancestors ate being better somehow. We do actually know a lot more about certain things now than our ancestors did (and again, how far back are we talking about?). For example, not all that long ago, no one knew that it could be a bad thing to smoke when you were pregnant.

I think that the problem is that we have become disconnected with our food source - and that a lot of people in deciding to eat 'organic' miss the point too. Most organic food isn't regulated - and therefore it may not be any better for you. However as I mentioned, I do think we have access to a lot MORE food, more easily and cheaply than ever before. For example, even growing up, I don't recall the sheer variety of fruits you can easily get now in a supermarket - strawberries, blueberries, kiwis, etc. The important thing is to educate ourselves on where our food comes from - reading the labels as you said is a good place to start.

Dawn said...

Eslina, Very - and I think you're right!

yskat said...

Dawn, you are right in that although we have access to more food compared to people in the past, it is almost impossible to know where it comes from beyond a certain point. The division of labor in the production of goods and services has led to this kind of alienation. Karl Marx, who was an insightful observer of modern society, put it quite succinctly when he wrote "all that is solid melts into air": we used to have a direct connection with the earth as a food source, but that relationship no longer seems real.