Originally Posted on April 10, 2012
Can we germ-proof our kids?
I’m sure we have all been there; I know I sure have. We take our kids to day care and wonder if they will catch germs from the other kids! We see other children coughing and putting their fingers in their mouths, noses etc. and simply cringe at the thought of them interacting with our children. Some parents may even attempt to “germ-proof” their kids, but according to new research, attempting to do this is doing our kids’ immune systems a disservice.
According to new research, published at medicalnewstoday.com, exposure to germs may actually keep our kids healthy. This sounds like complete non-sense! Right? Germs can keep our kids healthy? hum…
Well, the study was performed by Researchers at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. The study was performed on rodents, some of which were exposed to germs early in life and some were not. The scientists determined that exposure to germs actually reduced the body’s of Invariant Natural Killer T (iNKT) cells. These specific cells were found to have the capability of having positive and negative effects on our children’d bodies. The scientists found that in the most basic form, these INKT cells can actually help to protect us from diseases including inflammatory bowel disease and asthma; but on the flip-side too many can also contribute to the above heath problems. So the basic take away from these findings in reference to the rodents is that by exposing the young rodents to germs they were actually being protected from accumulating T cells, which in turn allowed them to be healthier than the rodents who were not exposed to the germs.Simply put, our kids’ exposure to common germs at an early age, may keep their immune systems busy and in turn prevent them from worsened effects from other germs later in life.
With the above said, I believe, it is absurd to think that we can germ proof our kids; however, like the old adage, I believe that an ounce of prevention is certainly worth a pound of cure. Suffice it to say that our kids will continually be exposed to other kids until well into college life. If we do nothing else, we should at least teach our children the best ways to maintain cleanliness, and healthy habits, which will at least give them a fighting chance against illnesses.
Here is a list of popular places where germs can be found and tips to keep your children as germ-free as possible:
- Public restrooms – Encourage your child to use toilet paper to flush the toilet and on the door handle, when leaving the public restroom.
- Community pools – I would rather avoid this place, but if you must go please discourage your kids from swallowing the pool water or squirting it from their mouth.
- While at home home – To avoid making the whole house sick, remember to use spray disinfectant and plenty of hand sanitizer. Use paper towels in the bathroom and kitchen instead of hand towels, also do not allow your child to share drinking glasses, or toothbrushes.
- Playground – make sure you child washes their hands when they come in the house from play.
- Grocery store- Use disinfectant wipes here especially, you may even find them at the stores prior to entering. Wipe down grocery cart handles. and invest in a shopping cart cover.
Bottom line – germs are inevitable and natural. I believe, however, if we teach our kids to have healthy habits it can help them to stay healthy in the long run.
Just Food for thought…as usual, I would love to know Your thoughts.