Children Exposed to ‘Dirt’, Healthier

From the ‘Sci­ence proves mum right’ and ‘Obvious, but still needs to be stated’ file comes the news that chil­dren who are exposed to bac­teria, vir­uses, worms, and dirt have health­i­er immune sys­tems.

Pub­lic health meas­ures like clean­ing up con­tam­in­ated water and food have saved the lives of count­less chil­dren, but they “also elim­in­ated expos­ure to many organ­isms that are prob­ably good for us.”

“Chil­dren raised in an ultraclean envir­on­ment, […] are not being exposed to organ­isms that help them devel­op appro­pri­ate immune reg­u­lat­ory cir­cuits.”

Of course there are caveats, or at least com­mon sense rules (although even the research­ers in this field are debat­ing exactly how far to take this):

“I cer­tainly recom­mend wash­ing your hands after using the bath­room, before eat­ing, after chan­ging a diaper, before and after hand­ling food,” and whenev­er they’re vis­ibly soiled, [one research­er] wrote.

Dr. Wein­stock goes even fur­ther. “Chil­dren should be allowed to go bare­foot in the dirt, play in the dirt, and not have to wash their hands when they come in to eat.”

via Kot­tke