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Four boys at camp currently have the infamous swine flu. They are quarantined at our infirmary and are forced to stay inside all day wearing surgical masks. Swine flu has hit Maine just as it has hit the world. People all over are panicking about the pandemic.

But, really, it’s just the flu. It just happens to be super contagious. Get rest, take care of yourself, eat healthy, and you’ll be good to go.

Sometimes I feel like we, as Westerners, worry too much about bacteria and diseases. We use Purell before every meal. We take pills to solve all our little aches and pains. More children are taking daily medication than ever before. And, as a result, I think we have developed weaker immune systems. We over-diagnose. We are too sterile.

People I’ve seen in other parts of the world, especially Africa, don’t have these problems. They don’t get sick from drinking tap water. They don’t label every hyper child with ADD. Their bodies are strong. They suffer from diseases like everyone else, but their immune systems can handle most bacteria that affect our own.

I’m trying to get my body to adapt like this. I can now eat street food and drink tap water in Nairobi without getting sick. I don’t bother with Purell and I don’t take anti-malaria medication. Sure, I can get sick, but I take care of my body and treat what I find instead of taking excessive precautions.

A little bit of dirt seems to do a lot more good than a bottle of pills.