Studies Show: Dirt Really Doesn’t Hurt

28 01 2009

A New York Times article demonstrates what the best moms already know: playing in dirt, making mud pies, and getting a little filthy are healthy habits for developing children. Ongoing studies of the hygiene hypothesis–that our clean-obsessed culture is related to the rise in certain diseases–suggest that coming in contact with the microbes and even worms in soil and other natural environments (like pets) is essential to developing a hearty immune system and warding off autoimmune diseases and allergies down the line.

With the alarming rise in illnesses caused by antibiotic-resistant bacteria, such as what led to the death of a Brazilian model recently, I think we need no further reasons to drop the anti-bacterial soaps, dishwashing liquids, and hand sanitizers. In the article, Dr. Mary Ruebush, author of “Why Dirt is Good,” advises alcohol-based sanitizers, which are widely available. She adds, however, that the best thing to do is to wash less!

“The typical human probably harbors some 90 trillion microbes,” she wrote. “The very fact that you have so many microbes of so many different kinds is what keeps you healthy most of the time.”




One response

5 02 2009
Mister Moone

All true…I have a best friend who routinely ate dirt as a child, and he is as healthy as a horse [if a bit nutty 😉 ]…On a related topic, Medscape recently posted an article that showed that, for surface wounds, tap water is an excellent and safe irrigation solution [not advisable for deep wounds].

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