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Dr Bongo Department of Health



hree days ago, a thought struck me that seemed worth investigating. The original musing was “Ha, the grubby punk lifestyle seems to be good for my health, I rarely get ill.” Being the curious type, I thought I would look into the matter. Among the numerous studies and websites on the subject of the immune system, several key factors repeatedly came to the fore as encouraging resistance to illness. Let us begin, though, by looking at the fundamental workings of the human defence mechanism. There are three types of cells that protect us from disease: B-lymphocytes, T-lymphocytes and phagocytes, which roughly translate into the alert, attack and backup phases of fighting infection. They also have the capacity to remember previous invasions, and tailor their rapid response accordingly. The overlap between how these cells function and my grubby lifestyle is where it starts to get interesting. Gigs and festivals are like a gladiatorial arena for your immune system – I personally consider it a travesty leaving such an event without a

layer of the sweat and spit of a thousand revelers. With attendees travelling from all over the world, your immune system becomes party to an eclectic smorgasbord of infections, which it may not otherwise have been exposed to. This allows it to build up a greater back catalogue of

known, leaving the body better equipped to fight off a wider range of illnesses. Moshing is also a great form of regular exercise, which is vitally important for keeping the immune system healthy. If you are physically fit, your body is far more able to defend itself against un-

wanted attacks. Punks tend to be a little less than scrupulous when it comes to personal hygiene, which is another effective way of reinforcing the immune system, although you might not think so at first. Punks are best described as “less sterile”, rather than as completely unwashed – a state which helps to boost the body’s natural defences in two important ways. Firstly, a healthy human body is home to over 90 trillion microbes, beating cells on a ratio of 10:1. Most of these microbes are beneficial to us, aiding everything from digestion to healing, and to wipe them away with disinfectant wouldn’t do us any favours. They also do the important job of fighting any invading infection for both space and nutrients. Basically, if you have scrubbed your skin completely clean from the good guys, it gives the bad guys an open platform to invade. Yet despite the health benefits, there is one fairly glaring caveat to being a punk: owing to outside factors such as crowd surfing injuries, chronic liver failure and an all round risky lifestyle, our lifespan is probably below average. 89

The Eccentrist  
The Eccentrist  

A new quarterly magazine that offers a ‘meander away from the mainstream’ by documenting the more unusual and offbeat people, places and ide...