Super Clean Houses Make Children Sick; Some Dirt And Germs Boost Immunities, Scientists Say

By Amanda Moore, Parent Herald April 19, 04:00 am

Parents obsessed with keeping a clean house might want to stop dusting off and read up on this latest revelation from scientists. According to microbiome doctors, John Gilbert and Rob Knight, the propensity of some moms and dads for cleanliness might be why children are prone to sickness now more than ever.

The experts conducted a study in 2016 comparing the immunities of children from different families in Amish and Hutterite farms. They learned kids in Amish farms had significantly lowered asthma risks.

The experts attributed this to the presence of rich microbes in their environment. The experts published their findings in The New England Journal.

Gilbert and Knight subsequently wrote a book on the importance of microbes for the body's immunities. "Dirt Is Good: The Advantage of Germs for Your Child's Developing Immune System" will hit stores in June, as per Macmillan Publishing.

In it, the scientists discussed the benefits of germ exposure in childhood. They pointed out being in a dirty place and exposed to all the germs is not all that bad.

Germs help the body learn to control its reactions towards environmental agents like dust, dirt and pollen. Too much cleanliness removes the body's ability to manage its reactions, thus making children susceptible to sickness.

Gilbert further said that a century ago, cleanliness was necessary because of the rampant spread of diseases of many kinds. Since then, however, experts developed medicines and vaccines to counter these diseases, as well as products for sterilization and cleaning.

These products, however, are chemically processed. It might be strong for germs but it can also alter the body's immunities.

''While you don't want to go out and expose your child to aggressive infections, you don't want to create such a sterile environment that their immune system doesn't develop normally," environmental health expert Dr. Marsha Wills-Karp said, as per Daily Mail. "It puts them at risk of developing immune diseases."

The experts said parents need more education on good bacteria and bad bacteria. "There are definitive ways to embrace the controlled exposure or uncontrolled defined exposure to that rich microbial world early in life," Gilbert said.

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