Babies Know: A Little Dirt Is Good for You
In studies of what is called the hygiene hypothesis, researchers are concluding that organisms like the millions of bacteria, viruses and especially worms that enter the body along with “dirt” spur the development of a healthy immune system. Several continuing studies suggest that worms may help to redirect an immune system that has gone awry and resulted in autoimmune disorders, allergies and asthma.
I can't remember if I posted it about it here, but a few months back, I heard about Plumpy Nut, a peanut-based nutritional supplement given to undernourished children as young as 6 months old. One of the doctors administering the supplement said they have never seen an allergic reaction to Plumpy Nut. Then why, in America, do we have so many nut allergies popping up everything? I wondered if it had to do with under-stimulated immune systems. Not only do we overuse antibiotics and douse everything with antibacterial gunk, in my opinion, we over-vaccinate. 6 year-old kids today get 3-4 times as many vaccines as kids did 25 years ago. According to the most recent schedule available, toddlers will have received 25 vaccinations by age 15 months, and up to 32 by age 6. In 1983, toddlers only received 6 vaccinations by age 15 months, and up to 10 by age 6.
I knew I was doing a good thing when I let Bear eat dog toys and play in the mulch :)