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Children Need Microbes — Not Antibiotics — To Develop Immunity, Scientists Say

Everyone knows that it is important to care about hygiene. This means washing hands a couple of times a day, especially during flu season. But this caring about hygiene is going too far – at least in developed countries. Parents tend to keep their kids too clean, away from all the bacteria (good and bad). This can have an irreversible effect on the child.

New studies have shown that washing hands too often and using hand sanitizers, antibacterial soaps and antibiotics have had a negative effect on children’s immune system. These all kill all kids of microbes, which are actually necessary to our immune system. It is said that being overly clean can cause chronic conditions from allergies to obesity.

A microbiologist Marie-Claire Arrieta wrote a book called Let Them Eat Dirt: Saving Our Children from an Oversanitized World. She has researched the microbes in human’s system for a long time and confirms the importance of these microbes in a healthy organism.

She explains that new-borns immune system is not developed yet and they do not have these microbes. As soon as these microbes come to our lives, they make the immune system work properly. Without microbes the immune system cannot fight infections. To make this easy, basically these microbes train our system to protect ourselves from bad bacteria and infections. These microbes help to avoid the development of many diseases.

There have been many researches showing that kids that grow up in farm environments have a less chance of developing asthma. This suggests that living in an environment that is less clean is actually better. This also applies for pets – let your kid play with dogs and cats. This makes them only stronger.

It is also said that cleaning everything that goes into a baby’s mouth can increase the possibility of developing asthma. The possibility is decreased if the pacifier is cleaned in the parent’s mouth. All this is showing that we live in an environment that is too clean. That is not so beneficial for us. Of course this does not mean that we should stop washing our hands all together.

It just means that let your kid play in the garden and get some dirt on once in a while. There needs to be a balance between protecting our kids from bad stuff and letting them get a strong immune system themselves. So remember, hygiene is crucial to our heath, but so are the microbes.

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