Saturday, May 16, 2009

Hygiene Hypothesis: Are We Too "Clean" for Our Own Good?

Interesting medical college article, especially if you suffer from an autoimmune disease. Click here. If this hypothesis is true, a little dirt and germs as a child could be beneficial.

"Increased hygiene and a lack of exposure to various microorganisms may be affecting the immune systems of many populations - particularly in highly developed countries like the US - to the degree that individuals are losing their bodily ability to fight off certain diseases.

That's the essence of the 'hygiene hypothesis', a fairly new school of thought that argues that rising incidence of asthma, inflammatory bowel disease, multiple sclerosis and perhaps several other diseases may be, at least in part, the result of lifestyle and environmental changes that have made us too 'clean' for our own good."


Andrea said...

I totally believe this, just going by example of my children and my neice.

My children are allowed to get dirty, probably eating dirt from time to time. We wash after toileting and before eating, but we're not hyper-manic about it. (I have more important things to come unglued about, than handwashing.) My neice, on the other, gets anti-bacterial *everything*, to the point my SIL wipes down silverware with wet wipes at restaurants lest they have germs. And Heaven forbid she not wash her hands.

The results?? My neice was in the hospital twice last year with pneumonia and sick at least once a month. My children....haven't even had a head cold in 6 months.

It could just be coincidence, but I don't think so. And like my 3 year old says..."God made dirt and dirt don't hurt."

Alexandra said...

Oh no, I hope your niece outgrows this, poor thing.

It's true we can't avoid a little dirt in our lives.

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