Gross, right? NO! The billions and billions of bugs on and in your body are what keep you alive. Thanks bugs.
Often times we associate bugs with sickness and being dirty (especially right now during a pandemic). In developed countries, we bathe every day to get the bugs off of us. But, not all bugs are bad.
From the passing of bugs from mother to baby, to our eyebrows to our colon, healthy bugs exist on us everywhere. And the fun part is, they are unique to you just like your fingerprint or DNA!
During an experiment, scientists swabbed several different human bellybuttons and found 2,300 different species from just 60 different people! The amazing part is that these bugs can help predict which diseases you are prone to and how easily you are able to fight them off.
There's also the story of the louse (or in plural-form, lice). This bug reveals a bit about our evolutionary past when we were hairier creatures.They had to specialize to live in different environments as we became less hairy, as head lice can’t survive on any other part of the body. Scientists claim that we got head lice by living intimately with our simian ancestors.
Good bacteria on our skin are actually the first point of defense, and when there isn't a cut, they are the first responders, not the immune system.
On a slightly more negative note, bugs (such as parasites) can influence our behavior. Toxoplasmosis, for example, is a parasitic infection commonly picked up from cat poop, and those infected have claimed to even have been sexually attracted to cats!
But, what interests me most about these bugs is how they can be used to cure human diseases and disorders.
There have been multiple studies where patients diagnosed with bowel disorders such as Celiac, Crohn's, and IBS have received treatments where about 50 hookworm larvae are placed on the skin, and they eventually make their way down to the gut where they manipulate the immune system to have anti-inflammatory effects. So not only has this treatment cured bowel disorders, but it has treated things like seasonal allergies.
Another more common treatment is fecal transplant where doctors inject another healthy person's bacteria-filled poop into the colon of a sick person's so that their gut is replenished with healthy bacterial flora. This treatment has been recorded to cure diseases beyond the gut such as Multiple Sclerosis, as well!
If you want to learn more about this subject, I highly recommend that you watch Life on Us: A Microscopic Safari (there you can find most of the information written above). You can watch it on Amazon, and it's free with Amazon Prime.
So, next time someone asks what you're grateful for, answer with "bugs."