There's a new bad guy in the fight against illness, and it isn't a micro-organism, virus or prion (the things that cause BSE [mad cow disease] and Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease (CJD) disease). It's hygiene.
|When good immune systems go bad...|
Sometimes the immune system gets all wonky and results in allergies or even (some speculate) autism. Sometimes it means you don't get the bacteria in your intestines that helps digest food (eating issues anyone?). Sometimes it shuts off completely.
An episode of House in Season 6 resulted in a diagnosis of over-hygiene, or low-functioning immune system (extra-intestinal Crohn's, they called it). Additionally, CNN and Parenting magazine have both done articles talking about the positives of adequate germ exposure (here and here).
|Aren't they cute?!?|
We are made to be little micro-bug hosts, using some germs to practice our martial-immuno-battles on, using some germs to help digest or process certain foods, and using some germs to become immune to bigger, badder things.
Love your kids; get them infected!