Friday, October 15, 2010

Dirt Don't (Usually) Hurt

I recently read a book written by an immunologist titled Why Dirt Is Good: 5 Ways to Make Germs Your Friends. It is a parenting book that basically says what I have believed for the last few years, and that is that many of our children get sick, and now many of our adults get sick, and have allergies due to being too clean. Our immune system does better if it has practice, so when we douse ourselves in hand sanitizer, pop antibiotics at the slightest hint of any sort of what might be an infection, and keep our children from playing in, wearing and yes, even eating dirt in the first years of their life, we're actually doing more harm than help. Even the vast amounts of allergies today, though not all by any means, seem to spring from a society that is overly clean.

Another result is what is often called the superbug. When you use hand sanitizer or take antibiotics improperly or too often, you end up with surviving bacteria that are the strongest of the bunch. These become resistant to the medicines we create. In fact, there are two types of bacteria out there now that are so strong that the pharmaceutical companies have all but given up hope in creating medicine for them. There just isn't anything we know of that can kill them except our bodies toughen up and make it through the infection.

This book only strengthened my resolve to be a more laid back parent. I'm not too worried if Ben is outside and eats a bit...or a lot of dirt. I'm not too concerned when he randomly licks stuff, even if it's the floor in the grocery store. That doesn't mean I'm not concerned in any way. I don't plan to let him eat food that is rotten or in the trash can, or other things that are just dangerously stupid to allow, but if you haven't noticed, kids have an unusual attraction to dirt, and when you understand the immune preparing system of a child, you understand why and that God has created the human body to help make its self more resistant to sickness and harm.

Everyone should own this book and learn about how God created us, despite the author's belief that we evolved to this stage. The more I study the human body, the more and more convinced I become that it could only have been designed by some grand creator. I had planned for this post to go in another direction, but it ended up here, so keep on the lookout for a second part to this article focusing more on a spiritual aspect.

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