Prompt: List and describe as many changes in human behaviors as you can think of that contribute to decreased exposure to microbes.
- Exposure to the outdoors- Spending your childhood indoors vs playing outside, getting dirty, exposure to bodies of natural water would likely decrease your exposure to microbes.
- Exposure to pets and other animals– Growing up in a home rich with animals, especially those who live outdoors, and having exposure to animal saliva, cleaning animal pens, eating chicken eggs, drinking unpasteurized milk will likely increase your exposure to microbes. Growing up with no pets or animal exposure (or even indoor cats/dogs) would probably decrease your exposure to microbes.
- Taking antibiotics-As we have learned, this will decrease exposure to microbes and decrease richness of microbes already present in the gut.
- Eating processed, sugar-rich foods-Instead of eating pre- and probiotic rich foods, eating processed foods will decrease your exposure to microbes.
- Home daycare as a child vs. public daycare– Growing up in your home environment without exposure to other children will likely decrease your exposure to microbes.
- Homeschooling vs. public school-Similar to above, attending a public school with children from all backgrounds will likely increase your exposure to microbes, while being homeschooled will decrease your exposure.
- Not breastfeeding your child-There is a decrease in microbial exposure that comes with formula or bottle feeding an infant.
- Your work environment-Your work environment could increase or decrease your exposure to microbes depending on where you work. An office setting in your own cubicle will likely provide less exposure to microbes than say, working out in a forest or working with animals.
- Food source-Where your food is grown and if it was treated with antibiotics is a factor that could increase or decrease microbial exposure. If your food is store-bought, treated with RoundUp or other pesticides, it is likely not going to expose you to as many microbes as if you ate homegrown, organic foods.