Thursday, 5 April 2012

i knew it:

... new research shows that it's possible kids can be too clean.

You read that right.

That's because all of the soap dispensers, hand sanitizers and alcohol-tinged wipes could be robbing our kids from exposure to the germs that help strengthen their immune systems.

According to new research done on mice, increasing exposure to germs helps develop the immune system, thereby preventing allergies and other immune-related diseases like colitis and asthma later in life.

i was always one to not fuss too much about dirt. when kids are at the crawling stage, they spend most of the time finding unmentionable little bits and pieces on the floor and promptly popping them in their mouth. now while i certainly did my share of vacuuming and sweeping, i certainly wasn't worried about what went into their mouths at that age. as long as it wasn't something they were going to choke on, i just put it down to immune-system-building activities.

i remember some guy trying to sell us a vacuum cleaner that doubled as an air purifier. he went through his whole spiel about the benefits of purifying the air, but it was obvious what the problem was: the minute you walk out the door, you're walking in unpurified air. but your system is used to purified air, so the chances of getting sick become that much higher, since your immune system isn't going to cope so well.

i'm not saying that we should all live in filth, or that cleanliness is not next to godliness. i just think it's not worth being overly fussy. i don't use water filters in nz - really can't see the point. i definitely drink boiled water when i travel - a healthy precaution - but generally there isn't much point here. better to let your body build up immunity whatever is in our normal water supply. (but i recognise that there are some communities in nz that aren't getting adequate quality water, which is really a shame on us that we don't spend the money to supply it.)

i have to say though that one of the worst immunity-building times is when kids start childcare or kindy. it's like they're sick every 3 or 4 weeks for the next 6 months, as their little bodies try to cope with all the new varieties of germs that other kids carry. i'm particularly glad that this period of my life is over and sympathise with others who are going through it.

1 comment:

Deborah said...

My children seemed to have an unending series of colds and fevers last year, which they promptly passed n to us, and I suspect it was because they had moved back to NZ and into a new school with an entirely fresh germ pool to play around in. They've been much better so far this year, and I'm hoping that it's because they've built up some immunity.