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Children Need More Dirt to be Healthy

Saturday, January 02, 2010 by: E. Huff, staff writer
Tags: children, dirt, health news

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(NaturalNews) Researchers from the University of California, San Diego, have found that children who are too clean are at a higher risk of developing inflammation and disease. Normal skin bacteria that act to balance immune response protect the body from overreacting to cuts and other injuries. Excessive cleanliness is actually impairing children's natural healing function and putting them at an increased risk for disease.

Published in the online edition of Nature Medicine, findings are confirming that germ exposure is beneficial to young children who need it in order to build immunity and prevent the onset of allergies. Being too clean is now implicated in causing increased allergies in developed countries around the world.

Staphylococci, the bacterial species studied by researchers, was found to play a vital role in blocking inflammation. It creates a molecule called lipoteichoic acid (LTA) that keeps skin keratinocytes balanced and prevents them from creating too much inflammation. As a result, a simple cut or scrape will not get overly swollen in the presence of staphylococci.

Overuse of skin soaps, body washes, and hand sanitizers is eliminating this important bacteria, leading many researchers to question hygiene methods that have become commonplace. Children are being restricted from "dirty" outdoor activities in the name of keeping them safe from germs, when in fact these restrictions are causing them more harm than good.

Several groups in the United Kingdom, including Parents Outloud and Allergy UK, believe that the research proves that children are being overprotected from germs and that exposure to elements like dirt and sand is a good thing for them. Since allergy rates have tripled in the UK over the past ten years, advocates of germ exposure hope that the findings will cause many to reevaluate their ideas concerning childhood health.

A rapid rise in allergies, asthma, autoimmune disorders, diabetes, and serious inflammation diseases are also being seen in the United States where the sanitation craze has also taken hold. Science has shown that the human body maintains health because of the presence of trillions of different microbes that keep each other in check. Antibacterial products and other sanitation products can cause the growth of super-bacteria that can cause serious problems.

Children who grow up on farms and are exposed to all sorts of bugs, worms and natural elements have demonstrably less allergies and autoimmune problems than urban children who spend most of their time indoors. Playing outside barefoot every now and again and digging in the dirt more often would do wonders for the health of today's youngsters.

Sources for this story include: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/8373690.st...
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