Maureen Turner: We Are Family


Let Them Eat Dirt

Occasional Germ Exposure Is OK In Our Home

Clean freaks and germaphobes, you might want to turn back now, because things are about to get dirty.

While many parents are buying antibacterial everything and sterilizing everything in their path, I am that mom that lets her kid eat the lollipop that fell on the floor. Yup, blow off the dog hair and that sucker is good to go. Okay, if there is dog hair on it, I might rinse it off.

I believe that we are cleaning ourselves to death.

Did you know there is such a thing as good bacteria? If you kill 99.9% of germs and bacteria with your antibacterial cleansers, you kill the good bacteria too. Also, that .01% of germs that survive are like the Darwinian giants in the survival of the fittest of germs. With only the biggest and strongest germs left, we create super bugs that are resistant to our medicine and will eventually be resistant to your cleansers.

I also believe that consuming a little dirt from time to time will help build a strong immune system. The Hygiene Hypothesis claims that if we are not exposed to enough germs and bacteria in early childhood, it will make us susceptible later in life to allergens and we will have weaker immune systems.

Now, like any parent, I react to certain situations. For instance, Siobhan dropped a raisin on the floor of the arena the other day, and I was quick to get it before she could put it in her mouth. Tom laughed and said “You realize she was licking those stairs the other day?"

I then flashed back to a day when I found her sucking the towel that I keep by the back door to wash the dogs feet when he comes inside. Yum!

Obviously, we still have to be careful with what we allow to get into their little mouths. My step son spent a couple months at Sick Kids hospital near death after being exposed to E.Coli when he was younger, so we know the dangers.

I’m not saying filth is good (Although, if you saw my kitchen right now, you might think I thought so), I’m just saying there is such a thing as too clean.