Kids Need More Dirt: As if I Needed a Reason to Clean LessLori Garcia
I grew up in the cleanest environment known to man. If you doubt me, you’re wrong.
My mom (God bless her), is, was, and will always be the queen of clean. When she’s not touching up paint on her immaculate walls, she’s dusting every last stowaway microorganism right out of her pristine home.
Despite my mom’s effort to keep me healthy as a youngster, I was constantly sick with allergies and ear infections. Constantly.
Mom, I love you more than all the oceans, but research suggests you may have been doing me more harm than good. Germs and kids’ health studies have been popular science for the last 30 years or so according to Philly.com. In 1989, researcher D.P. Strachen found a correlation between family size and allergy and asthma levels in children that suggested kids in larger families were at lower risk. Well, I was an only child…
Further researchers at the University of Arizona compared respiratory complications in over 1,000 kids, noting family size and whether or not they attended daycare as babies. They found kids in larger families who attended daycare from infancy to six months of age were better protected from respiratory problems. Hmm, I started in daycare at six months of age…
A recent study examining mice in germ-free environments found high levels of white blood cells in their lungs and intestines that caused inflammation. This pretty much sucks because it’s the very inflammation of the white blood cells that aggravates asthma. Great.
According to University of Montreal, super clean homes and less time outdoors are responsible for a 30 percent rise in allergies and asthma between the 1980s and 1990s.
As with all things, moderation is key. Moderate dirt, good. Moderate antibacterial soap use, good. Extreme sterilization, not so good.
Keep washing those little hands and cleaning your house but allow your kids to get dirty and play hard. Their little bodies need exposure to germs to rev their immune systems and keep them healthy.
What are your thoughts on kids and dirt?
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