Parents, stop chasing your kids around with hand sanitizer
If your little one drops their pizza on the floor, perhaps it's not that big a deal after all.
It may be time to think of all those germs as extra spice, according to Jack Gilbert, the director of University of Chicago's Microbiome Center.
In his new book, Gilbert advises parents to let kids play in the dirt without chasing after them, antibacterial wipes in hand.
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Gilbert believes that exposure to most germs in modern day life are actually beneficial because they stimulate the immune system.
Now, if your kid's school has a virus going around, that's different.
However, in everyday life there's no need to keep them away from animals, the outdoors or food that's been on the floor for a few seconds.
"Dirt is Good The Advantage of Germs for Your Child's Developing Immune System" is an NPR report, in Q& A style, reflecting questions parents have asked Gilbert in real life.
He says to ditch the hand sanitizer and stick with warm soapy water.
He also mentions previous studies that show children whose parents licked their dropped pacifiers had less allergies, asthma and eczema.
When we sterilize everything and keep our kids indoors, cells in their immune system called Neutrophils get lazy. In addition, when those cells do kick in, they are super sensitive and can trigger an uptick in allergies.
Gilbert advises to just let kids be kids as long as they're properly vaccinated.