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Dirt is good for kids' immune system

17 July 2017

Contrary to popular belief, which, no doubt, has some scientific basis, dirt is not bad for kids, according to a scientist. In fact, Jack Gilbert, who studies microbial ecosystems at the University of Chicago, has written a book titled: Dirt is Good: The Advantage of Germs for Your Child's Developing Immune System.

Gilbert studied what was actually known about the risks involved when modern-day children came in contact with germs.

"It turned out that most of the exposures were actually beneficial," Gilbert says, NPR reports. "So that dirty pacifier that fell on the floor - if you just stick it in your mouth and lick it, and then pop it back in little Tommy's mouth, it's actually going to stimulate their immune system. Their immune system's going to become stronger because of it."

In an interview with NPR, responding to a question as to what were some things that parents got wrong, he said, over-sterilising their (children's) environment, keeping kids from ever getting dirty was wrong.

''So going out into the backyard and playing in the mud, and then as soon as they're filthy, bringing them in and sterilizing their hands with antiseptic wipes, and then making sure that none of the dirt gets near their faces,'' will only hurt their immune system, says the study.

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