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Today’s children are too clean for their own good say Dr’s John Gilbert and Rob Knight.

The two scientists investigating the microbiome – are working together on a landmark book titled Dirt Is Good: The Advantage of Germs for Your Child’s Developing Immune System.

dirt is good

Slamming our addiction to cleanliness, the authors – both parents – explain how evidence is growing to show that not only can dirt and germs can protect against disease – but that our indoor-based, uber-clean lifestyles are weakening our immune systems, reports Daily Mail.

The book outlines the increasingly popular hygiene hypothesis.

The hypothesis says that some exposure to germs and microorganisms in early childhood is actually good for us because it helps develop the immune system.

It also holds that instances of eczema, asthma, hay fever and childhood diabetes have spiked in children who rarely roll in the mud or play with animals.

Without early exposure to dirt and germs, the immune system doesn’t learn how to control its reaction to everyday invaders such as dust and pollen.

Dr Gilbert says that over the last 150 years, once humans began to understand that microbes cause disease, there has been an attempt to rid our bodies from any type of fungi, virus or bacterium.

And while the increase in hygiene practices – boiling water and pasteurizing milk – has helped ward off a number of diseases and deaths, negative consequences are suffered by children who grow up in too clean of a home.

Dr Gilbert has suggested that it’s best to educate parents about the types of natural exposure that would be most helpful in immune system development given the specifics of their children and their communities.

‘There are definitive ways to embrace the controlled exposure or uncontrolled defined exposure to that rich microbial world early in life,’ Dr Gilbert said.

Do you think we are raising a generation obsessed with hygiene?

Share your comments below.

Image via Macmillan

  • i have taught my kids to make sure that they get clean after getting dirty. You have to let kids be kids and get the tactile experiences of their environment. it is all a part of learning and it is no big deal to clean them up

    Reply

  • We sure are – parents would be better off letting their children play outside and make mud pies and hold the Dettol hand spray from everything they touch too.

    Reply

  • Let children play as children, not be sterile all the time. It stops them from building up immunity. Make sure they wash their hands before eating, before going to the toilet – not just afterwards if playing in soil or other dirty substances. You can bath them late. Their clothes can be soaked and washed.

    Reply

  • I remember coming home covered in mud and mum would say “its ok, its clean dirt”

    Reply

  • I’ve no problem with my kids eating from the floor. My youngest sticks her hands in her poo and smears it over her face and licks her fingers… I don’t encourage that to be honest, lol !

    Reply

  • We have just the right amount of everything – cleanliness and messiness and inside play and outside play and good immunity.

    Reply

  • Some parents are too cautious these days. Unless there is a reason , children and others should be allowed to get dirty. My younger children love dirt from the veggie garden, helping dad and older brothers with engines.

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  • well this is all just common sense really. They know kids that are raised on farms around animals have better immune systems.

    Reply

  • It is very different from when l was growing up,kids are far more protected.

    Reply

  • A little bit yes. But not my grandson. He loves being outside getting dirty. As long as his hands are clean :/

    Reply

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