Kids love getting dirty. Give them a choice between splashing around in puddles or having a bath, they’ll choose the puddles. Finger painting, snow balls, digging in the sand pit, playing with insects… it’s all active and sensory and, well, germ-ridden. Luckily, we parents can relax while they get dirty, because a new study directly demonstrates the effectiveness of the Hygiene Hypothesis, the theory that germ exposure builds immunity in kids.
The researchers at Brigham Women’s Hospital discovered that exposing germ-free mice to microbes during their first weeks of life, led to a normalized immune system and prevention of diseases. Mice that were not exposed had more inflammation of the lungs and colon, which leads to asthma and colitis. It’s suggested that the hygiene hypothesis explains the global increase of allergic and autoimmune diseases in cities.
Now the weather is warmer, I suggest you let your kids play outside, climbing, running, building, creating and feeling – let them slip their shoes off!
Research Podiatrist for Skeanie