Shared publicly  - 
Raising your kids in a sterile lab environment is not keeping them healthy —

Getting the Dirt On Immunity: Scientists Show Evidence for Hygiene Hypothesis

This concept of exposing people to germs at an early age (i.e., childhood) to build immunity is known as the hygiene hypothesis. Medical professionals have suggested that the hygiene hypothesis explains the global increase of allergic and autoimmune diseases in urban settings. It has also been suggested that the hypothesis explains the changes that have occurred in society and environmental exposures, such as giving antibiotics early in life. However, neither biologic support nor a mechanistic basis for the hypothesis has been directly demonstrated. Until now.
Ezra G's profile photoBiljana Kochoska Taneska's profile photoVanja Dimitrievski's profile photoDallas McMillan's profile photo
chuckle that pretty much supports a speculative theory of mine that I have had for years that, as a race, we shall eventually clean ourselves out of existence.
Not overloading the infant immune system isn't such a bad idea either. Kids below the age of 12 months need a little bit of care with this regard and a gradual opening of exposure is a better way than just doing a full 180 degrees on the hygeine thing.
Strong argument for breast feeding, with the initial colostrum content.
Everybody knew that milkmaids had beautiful skin with no pock-marks. The dairy workers themselves even knew it was because the cowpox gave them immunity to smallpox. But it was many centuries before Jenner thought this through to the idea of a vaccine.

Unfortunately it takes lab work before, we will accept the overwhelming anecdotal evidence that (e.g.) people who grow up on farms rarely have allergies. I foresee the appearance of 'dirt vaccines' (which will probably be euphemistically called 'hygeine vaccines'), although letting your toddler play in the dirt and dust - as is their wont - is probably just as good. (I must confess I find it difficult to let my 21-month-old pick up random objects in the street, although funnily enough I am happy to have him pick up dead leaves, twigs and other 'natural' debris.

And I wonder: What are the household cleaning product manufacturers going to do with their 'kills all germs' rhetoric?
As someone who grew up on a farm and currently lives on a farm again, I still have mild hay fever. I do, on the other had, only get sick (e.g. common cold) once every year or two.
Of course, +John Hardy, you don't want to drown your infants in germs but it reintroduces a certain balance that, as +Brennan Young points out, the "germ-free" craze that far too many urban parents subscribe to, is challenged from a scientific point of view.
The core concepts, to me, raise the primary issue of should we bother with immunization at all? Are we not overcoming that, which nature (or some other deity or belief system), keeps in play to control populations of a species?
+Alexander Becker I agree with the basic thesis. I jsut wanted to add a little balance because its so obvious that people have a tendency to go overboard. Sentiments like "Everything you heard about hygiene is wrong" uh no it isn't. "A baby needs a huge dose of germs" wrong again. The immune system works by reacting to small quantities, so germs should be allowed by in small quantities especially for very young infants. Don't have your dog licking their faces. Don't give them swimming lessons at 6 months in a public pool. Infections can have really serious consequences so take this information with intelligence and caution.
Good news. I hate cleaning the kitchen ;)
between a severe decrease in North American breast feeding rates and germ phobia parenting I wondering what this generations health will be like as adults
I hate to tell you but giving them more peanut butter didn't cure them.

Yes allergy rates are on the rise esp in schools. Part of that is because more kids are developing allergies but it is also because less kids with anaphalactic reactions are dying before they reach kindergarten.
Yes there was.

Many kids outgrew them, as they do today.
Many were mild, as many are today
those with severe allergies died
so I don't doubt that you never encountered another child who had allergies that you were made aware of
actually this is true in most senses biologically as it acts on a similar process like the one's the current vaccinations are based on
+Deryk Robosson Perhaps the best response to the question "why bother with immunizations at all?" is the Spanish Flu pandemic in 1918, in which 50 and 100 million people died. While immunization programs have their shortcomings, the ability to quickly develop and distribute vaccines in response to emergent strains of evolving viruses is a vital public good.
I caught viruses as a chid myself,measels,scabies,chickenpox,endless coughs and cold etc..and I'm still here..!
Although I have no interest in children of my own, I definitely think Western society's ever-increasing babying/limiting/"protecting" of all aspects of a child's life is a BadThing(TM).

My dad tells stories of his youth growing up where during the summer months his parents would kick him out of the house at 9am and assume they wouldn't see him until dinnertime. This would be the same for all kids in the neighborhood.

Although I am not really a fan of his, Bil Bryson wrote in The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid ( that the same thing happened to him when he grew up. Kids would just run around in huge groups exploring and doing random things all day.

These days everyone assumes their child is going to be kidnapped or is going to hurt themselves and demand the kid carry a cell phone which allows the parents to have GPS coordinates on the kid at all times.

This is only going to lead to a more dependent citizenry - ie willing to give up more and more control and privacy to those in positions of authority.
So I seldom get sick, while everyone else does. Why? I will say I grew up playing outside instead of indoors all the time. I'm thinking it was exposure to the environment. Staying inside and sheltered all the time is excellent if you stay inside and sheltered. Otherwise, not good enough. Back to basics. I did of course, get sick as a child, like everyone else.
Vaccines are great, some are unnecessary IMO that is a choice each parent has to make.
+Thomas Barnett actually you getting sick as a child will store samples of the anti-bodies used to fight them as 'immune memory' in your spleen(i think......not sure about location) these memories will be used to produce millions of clones to fight against same or similar virus,bacteria etc etc.
these memories may last from weeks to years based on their stability. that is why some vaccinations need boosters and that is also why constant exposure to dirt, natural surrounding etc can improve the bodies immunity system
Which generation started taking immunization shots to ward off common sense?
I just remembered that due to my blood type, I probably have a greater immunity than most others. I forgot, but still... The principle remains, exposure to environment is a form of vaccination. But I wouldn't try to get by without tetanus boosters and such. That would be wrong. On the other hand, I've never had a flu shot other than the ones the Army wanted me to have. Some people or situations need protection, and some do not. Choose wisely.
Suddenly realizing we're straying from the original principle of the statement. Allergic and autoimmune diseases in urban settings. Something caused an observable increase, and alterations in childhood immunity would be the correct place to look.
I love it! Now I don't feel so bad when my hands are full (4 kids, 2 under 2) and my toddler drops a snack and picks it back up... So the 5 second rule is actually good for them... Sweet!!
I have never had a flu shot or any other vaccine and believe that kids should be exposed to certain bacteria's to teach the body to fight and build a better immune system instead of parents wrapping them in cotton gloves. let kids be kids and get dirty, its a part of growing up and i believe they would have a stronger immune system for it.
that would less exposure to natural environments and instead overexposure to dust,noise pollution etc which became quite high due to rapid industrialization in recent years. Also researchers suggest about 85% of the mordern diesease may in one or another way be related to stress which is also incidentally hihg among children due to the increased competitiveness of current times,peer pressure etc etc.
+Jane Gooding Scabies is not a virus.. LOL it does nothing for your immune system, I wouldn't boast about that one, I'd probably choose not to disclose it actually LOL
We need to get our kids outside - period. Will help with so many things and not just building immunities. Furthermore, get rid of those hand sanitizers....and just wash your hands with soap and water. We kill the good and bad bacteria by over-cleansing. There was an article awhile back on how the Japanese people were coming down with MORE infections due to over-sanitizing. And now there are probiotics to improve natural bacteria in the "gut". So funny when you think of it, we sanitize to kill bacteria and then swallow them in pills or yogurt. Go figure.
There are ups and downs.... your kid may catch a parasite by eating shit that is in the dirt. One that could eat and kill them from the inside, should parents take that chance?
@Catherine Kozak Moretti i completely agree upon what your saying precaution is fine overprecaution is not
"This research was supported by the National Institutes of Health,..."

More of our tax dollars wasted - just to tell us the obvious. <shaking head>
I (25) never had a flu shot and never had the flu. I spent much of my childhood outside and rarely get sick.
My little sister (12) has had shots and vaccines and she's at the doctor every couple of Weeks for one thing or another.
me and my older sister spent a lot of time with other family members growing up, being exposed to different germs. My little sister does not.
And while both my parents get seasonal allergies, me and my older sister have none but my little sister is allergic to things I've never thought possible.

Even working in a vet clinic, you see that dogs that are primarily outside are healthier and less problems because of their exposure to the world.

I plan on breast feeding to pass on my awesome immunities and hope to eventually give rise to a immune super race ;)
Unfortunately Dale, the obvious is anything but obvious to the masses. Unless the media says its so, the obvious goes unnoticed
A little dirt never hurt anyone. And is living your entire life afraid of what one little germ could do to you, Really living?
we all know that&never believe it!!!
People use disinfectants in the kitchen nowadays. I keep warning them, but they just won´t believe it will harm their children.
It sometimes helps if I tell that hospital staff who regularly disinfect their hands often have skin problems, but the fear of bacteria usually stays.
@Mila. We eat more parasites, bacteria and viruses in meat, fruits and vegetables bought in stores than a child may possibly eat in dirt! And have you ever seen anyone sneeze on produce? I have many times. Eating a worm never hurt anyone and I have rarely heard of kids getting sick off parasites (work in healthcare) not that it can't happen.
There is a lot of muddy thinking in this stream. First immunity malfunctions like colitis,asthma,and hay fever are a different category of human maladies than infectious diseases. Humans mostly survive and function with immunity disorders. People die from infectious diseases!
As mentioned in an earlier post millions of people die from pandemics like the Spanish flu For those born after the introduction of vaccinations for polio, many my age died or were crippled by polio.
Like many arguments there are elements of truth on both sides. Overuse of antibiotics has decreased their efficacy, increase resistance of pathogens and probably compromised the physiology of many people, but immunization has saved millions of lives. For those of you opposed to vaccination, you should educate yourselves on risk management. Further, since those of you who think your decision to not have your children vaccinated is your own freedom of choice. Think again. To quote the the old adage:" your freedom to swing your arm ends at the end of my nose". If the pool of unvaccinated members of a population reaches reaches a critical size, a pandemic agent can overwhelm the population, spreading the risk to all, including my own family.
@Mila...and I didn't say eat dirt. I said get the kids outside! But a little "roughage" in the diet would not hurt any. Laughs.
+Bill Breidenbach Good points, well put. One legitimate concern about infectious, fatal diseases that have been so long ago controlled by immunization, is that people forget what a horror and tragedy it was to watch entire families wiped out by smallpox, scarlet fever or measles. Letting scare stories based on anecdotal evidence trump scientific evidence about immunization is bad policy, but a common result.
The government could use the money it's already spending on schooling to educate the kids instead of using "research" like this. Everybody should know this before they get out of the 3rd grade. Instead, they teach them to wash their hands and use some disinfecting anti-bacterial [whatever] every time they touch anything. The media, via the "stupid health news" fuels the fear. People need to think for themselves and use a little common sense. I mean, what do they think vaccinations do? Send in an army of tiny people through your veins/stomach with the sole mission of killing certain bad guys? Come on...! The vast majority of us "little people" know this already. Those that don't need to start thinking for themselves. It's the "smart people" in high places that try to get us to sterilize our lives.

I work with one germophobe (in particular) that uses the handicap button with his elbow because "I know what's out there." At the same time, he doesn't hesitate to use the handle on the door to his classroom with his hands! I've personally seen him do both within seconds of each other, and asked him about it. I am an eyewitness. This is a college microbiology professor. This guy is teaching our young adults? Ya gotta wonder.
This is why I like science and research. We tend to follow trends based on the opinion of the masses rather than based on facts. At times it's good but many times it could end up with negative consequences (e.g., up-sizing a meal to get your money's worth). It's nice when someone can substantiate or prove the hypothesis!

I've subscribed to the hygiene hypothesis all along, it just made sense to me. I think instead of asking a centurion what is their secret to longevity, we should be looking at the conditions of their environment during that person's first 10 years of life.
Dammit I have been saying exactly this for years. Outside of a professional medical environment, antibiotic cleansers and other such household products are not generally a good idea.
Think of it as weight-training for the immune system. 
George Carlin figured this out a long time ago. The man was a genius. I saw it on one of his earlier skits and know what, that makes sense! Wish you were here George.
In Britain many years ago, the "knacker man's children" were usually the healthiest in the village from being around slaughtered animals and having piles of offal to play on.
People living in slums or places of lower hygiene have significantly stronger immunity against diseases.
That's why, especially as a medical student, I'd recommend inoculations against microbes not only through injections but with NOT leaving children in a too-clean-for-their-own-good environment.
Add a comment...