We’ve all heard it before: your children’s hands, your home, everything can be a little dirtier, because in this way you train your immune system. But is this true? According to new research, the answer is no.
Some recent ideas have been compiled to come to this conclusion. But first let’s prove that we cannot live without microbes. They are on us and on us and we really need them. This sounds quite the opposite of properly cleaning your hands and your home. However, this is not it.
This research says the microbes you find in the modern home — read: microbes not made of wood, straw, clay, and horsehair — are not the ones we desperately need. You get it largely from your mom and find it in nature, but not on your kitchen counter. So you can get rid of these microbes with confidence.
But what about allergies? Do you not understand it correctly if you are no longer used to it? This was also refuted in this study. Two different studies have shown that many of these allergic reactions can be a reaction to the detergent itself and not to a lack of microbes. Brushing: still fine, inhale the bleach or spray the baby on your arm: rather no.
And what about training the immune system by getting sick now and then? Better than a vaccine, right? In this study they say no. Most vaccines do more than just protect you from one disease. It also helps in the functioning of the immune system in general.
Add these results together and you can say, according to these researchers: We’re not all very clean. Clean the brush well, but also take a walk in your garden now and then.
In this audio you can hear Professor Emeritus of Medical Microbiology Graham Rock of University College London. Read more about the research here: Being clean and healthy should not weaken children’s immunity. The paper can be found here: Microbial exposures that underpin immune control are consistent with target hygiene النظافة.