Germs: Why They Do a Body Good

Germs: Why They Do a Body Good. You know how when you have a kid, all you want to do is keep him safe, clean, and above all, germ-free? Don’t do it. In fact, let him get just as germy and dirty has his heart desires (well, at least within reason). Embrace the five-second rule. Stop wiping his hands with sanitizer every time he turns around. Why? According to new research out of Brigham and Women’s hospital, preventing youths from being exposed to and building their immune system again microbeswhen they’re still young could set them up for allergies and immune diseases later in life. It’s a concept that goes hand-in-hand with the “Hygiene Hypothesis” — the idea that overly sanitized living has given us not better health, but malfunctioning immune systems. It’s a thought that’s been gaining momentum in tandem with our own rising rates of immune-related diseases. That said, there is a grain of salt here: the study was done in mice, not humans, and with that comes all the traditional caveats regarding rodent-animal study translations. [Science]