Children need microbes — not antibiotics — to develop immunity, scientists say
Here are Dr. Jen’s take-a-ways from this article:
- Yes, it’s important to wash your hands! The problem is — in the West at least — parents have taken the business of keeping clean way too far.
- New science shows that blasting away tiny organisms called microbes with our hand sanitizers, antibacterial soaps and liberal doses of antibiotics is having a profoundly negative impact on our kids’ immune systems.
- When we are born, we do not have any microbes. Our immune system is underdeveloped. But as soon as microbes come into the picture, they kick-start our immune system to work properly. Without microbes our immune system cannot fight infections well.
- Things parents can do — and not do — to make sure they develop a good healthy microbiome and perhaps lower the chances of children contracting allergies, asthma and other related conditions?
Epidemiological evidence shows that kids who are growing up on a farm environment have way less chance of developing asthma. Of course, you cannot just pick up your things and become a farmer, but what this suggests is that living in an environment which is less clean is actually better. The same is true for owning a pet, specifically a dog. Let your baby safely play with dogs.
Studies have also shown that cleaning everything that goes in baby’s mouth increases their chances of asthma. The incidence of developing asthma is decreased if the pacifier is cleaned in the parent’s mouth. And all of this points to the fact that we are just living too clean, to a point that it is not beneficial. Hygiene is crucial to our health. We should not stop washing our hands, but we should do it at a time when it is effective at preventing disease spread — before we eat and after using the restroom. Any other time it is not necessary…
Including licking worms! (Samantha says they are salty)