A little dirt can’t hurt!

Having been raised on a farm surrounded by plants and animals, I’m pretty sure I ate my fair share of dirt, sand, and maybe even the occasional worm! (I remember my older cousins daring me to eat one!) While we were always told to wash our hands before meals, my four siblings and I grew up in a household where germs were truly no big deal.  Dogs licked our faces, my siblings and I often shared food, and we probably even ate something that had fallen on the floor.  My mom was certainly no ‘germaphobe’.

While my ‘dirty’ childhood probably makes many mothers today cringe, I was quite pleased when I read last year that kids who grow up on farms or with animals go on to be healthier later in life.  So… all that dirt was actually good for me!

I recently read this article in the New York Times which also suggests that dirt, germs (and even worms!) are crucial to building kids’ immune systems, and preventing autoimmune disorders, asthma and allergies.

I don’t know about you, but it makes me feel a bit more relaxed about what my kids put in their mouths!



Comments (8)

February 4, 2009

i have 4 children under the age of 4 (no, i’m not insane, i had one and then had triplets..) so i very often quite simply don’t have the energy or the speed of reaction to keep them from putting everything in their mouths. as it turns out, they are the healthiest bunch and very rarely suffer any kind of aches and pains – thankfully…can you imagine taking care of 4 sickly toddlers?

February 4, 2009

For me there is nothing better, than spending time in the summer making mud pies with my kids. Mud everywhere including in their mouths, it’s healthy for them and good fun!

My husband who is a surgeon is always telling me that it’s good for kids to get dirty, Kids in germ free bubbles I’m sure will suffer later in life!

February 4, 2009

I’ll have to thank my sister for telling me when I was little that they are called ‘mud pies’ because they taste good. I only had one bite before never trusting my sister again . . . but perhaps it was for my health . . . 🙂

February 4, 2009

Friendly bacteria we call them in our house. I reckon it is impossible to keep small kids away from mud and dirt, my kids are also very rarely sick (knock on wood), so I think we are going to continue being relaxed…

February 4, 2009

apparently the big rise in allergies is not only due to pollution in the air but also to the fact that we now live in environments that are too clean.
I’m not obsessed with cleaning …..and no allergies so far. but my children are often sick!!!!

February 4, 2009

My dad was a veterinarian so besides the fact that I grew up in the country-side surrounded by animals (and dirt), I’m sure he brought home a cow pock or two! I’m also very rarely sick, and so are my children (althought they are growing up in a city apartment)!

February 5, 2009

I read the same article. It definitely made me feel better about that banana that fell on the floor yesterday and then went into Izzy’s mouth. 🙂

February 5, 2009

I have to say I agree. I have an autoimmune disorder (in remission now thankfully) and I would be more concerned with what I eat than germs. I went through the paranoid phase when my daughter was born but got real when my boyfriend and both our families reminded us of our own upbringings which were not sterile environments. Even more importantly, unless you want your child never to move an inch, they will touch and lick whatever they want to! It’s life!

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