Is Germ Theory All It’s Cracked Up to Be?

I always bought into the germ theory of disease, up until I went to homeopathy college in London many years ago. But an incredible class by a fantastic teacher prompted me to question that theory.

Let’s be clear, germ theory is just that, a theory. While people generally believe that exposure to pathogens is all that’s required to become sick, this is simply not the case. Indeed, if it were the case, we’d all be dead because we come into contact with trillions of bacteria, viruses and fungi EVERY day. Some experts are even saying we are 90% virus, 9% bacteria and 1% human!

Think about that, we’re more bugs than we are human! Microbes are literally our milieu. So, if we are using products that kill our microbiome, who are we really hurting?

I’ll share a couple of stories.

I was living and working in London, England when the tragic events of 911 took place. Of course, it was early September so well before flu season. What was interesting was that within a couple days, 60-70% of the staff of my whole office were ill. They had general symptoms ranging from colds to flu with sore throats, coughs, and all that normally accompanies those illnesses. 

What was going on with this sudden “outbreak?” What could explain this?. 

When we are in fear, our adrenal glands produce and release the stress hormone cortisol, a powerful immune system suppressant, then we can get sick. Modern medicine understands this pattern very well and in fact uses synthetic cortisol-like compounds known as corticosteroids to actually suppress the immune system, for instance when someone has an organ transplant so their body will not reject the foreign organ. 

In homeopathy, we have remedies that fit the rubric, ‘never been well since a fright, shock, or bad news’ and, interestingly, some of them are well known homeopathic remedies for cold and flu symptoms, specifically, aconitum napellus and gelsemium sempervirens. 

A couple weeks after 911 I needed to fly home to the US for a dear friend’s wedding and I started to get a sore throat and feel ill the morning of our departure. Although I was not conscious of it at the time, in retrospect I realize I was fearful of getting on a plane after what had happened. I took both those remedies and was 100% fine by the time I landed in the US!

I am not going to explain how to use these remedies in this article, I just wanted to share this known reaction to illness after a fright or shock because the events of recent months have certainly been shocking and this could be one explanation for the illnesses we’ve seen. 

While we’ve all been trained to believe germ theory, namely that viruses and bacteria make us sick, that all those people in my office suddenly fell ill within days of September 11th led me to wonder if it wasn’t something already in them or at least some other factor at play.

The other story I want to share is about my son. When he was about 5, he “caught” hand, foot, and mouth disease. He was really ill, really weak, and couldn’t eat because he had so many sores on his lips and in his mouth. I wasn’t sure what it was so I took him to the doctor and she gave me the diagnosis. Hand, foot, and mouth is supposedly a highly contagious disease but the thing is, he was never in contact with anyone who had it. Not one single person. So, how did he “catch” it?

Recently, I learned of a 17-year-old boy in his late teens who also contracted hand, foot, and mouth without being in contact with anyone. If all that matters is exposure to the virus, how did this happen?

Is it instead possible that these microbes are in and around us at all times and what determines whether we get sick is the state of our immune system, the amount of rest we get, how we eat, and how much stress we have in our lives? Perhaps when those are out of whack, then our microbiome becomes imbalanced and those bugs already in us manifest.

It is worth noting that one third of our population carries staphmany carry strep A, and 10% carry meningitis but they are not sick and everyone is not contracting staph, strep or meningitis nor are they fearful of contracting these illnesses.

Our bodies, our world, and life itself are all so very complex, clearly more complex than we understand and in particular than we understood when the germ theory of disease was first promulgated hundreds of years ago. But now we have all this new information that illnesses can follow shocks, that we can carry diseases without contracting them, and that we can get illnesses without exposure. Isn’t it time we started questioning the germ theory of disease?