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General News“Dirt is Good”

May 1, 2017

A new book is coming out in June. It has an interesting title, Dirt is Good. In the book, the authors explain this idea; dirt and germs can make children healthier.

Babies first contact germs inside of their mother. After birth, many drink their mother’s breast milk. Breast milk has germs in it. Then babies become toddlers. Toddlers put many things into their mouths, and homes are filled with germs. Germs can make a child sick, so parents become very worried.

However, researchers are now telling parents to relax. For example, if a child picks up a toy on the floor and puts it into its mouth, the parent should take the toy and rinse it off and give it back to the child. There is no need to boil the toy to kill germs.

When young children come into contact with microbes (germs), their bodies start to fight the germs. This response to microbes helps children’s bodies resist sickness.  In a research study, fewer children got asthma when they had more, not less, contact with germs in their homes and yards.

General cleanliness is important, but children also need to contact germs in the natural world inside and outside of their homes. Dirt can be good for children’s health.

Published May 2017

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