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Dirt gets its due again

Submitted by on Tuesday, 24 November 2009 No Comment

dirtyBacteria are normal. Bacteria are good. Bacteria can even help the immune system.

So say researchers at the University of California, San Diego.  According to an article in The Guardian, the very same staphylococci that causes such problems when it’s under the skin can actually help reduce reactions when it’s on the skin’s surface.

“These germs are actually good for us,” Professor Richard Gallo, who led the research, told The Guardian.

Gallo long has researched role of the innate immune system in skin health and disease. His previous work has shown that the skin makes natural antibiotic molecules. Wait until the HMOs hear that – they’ll try to figure out a way to charge us.

Gallo says the newest research is important because it provides a molecular basis for the “hygiene hypothesis” – the idea that children who aren’t exposed to as many germs when they’re young are more susceptible to disease. Some believe that hypothesis explains the increase in asthma and allergies in industrialized countries, though I can tell you that’s not the case in our family. The last thing anyone would call me is overly concerned about clean.

Regardless of whether you buy the hygiene hypothesis as it relates to allergies, not since the news last winter that worms might actually be good for kids has there been a development that laissez faire parents can cheer as loudly as they can Gallo’s research.

You mean I don’t have to follow the guys around with a freshly laundered wash cloth every waking second? That’s great, since we usually can’t find freshly laundered anything around here.

And I don’t have to douse in the hand-sanitizer that’s been Dad’s security blanket since he joined the Army? He also came home addicted to dental floss. There must be a class in basic training called Instilling Obsessive Compulsive Health Habits.

Can I politely decline now when someone comes over and wants to send a bleach tsunami through my house?

Wow. How empowering. I’m  giddy just thinking of all the free time I’ll have now to fight the real enemy: People who insist that letting kids play outside in the cold will cause them to catch colds.

Copyright 2009 Debra Legg. All rights reserved.

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