Hygiene hypothesis is important. Parents everywhere are on a constant mission to ensure that their children are raised in the safest environment they can possibly think of. This not-so-covert mission includes an all-out assault on germs and the complete fortification of their houses against anything that could cause their baby to sneeze, cough or even rub their little noses.
Cleanliness is the best way to raise your child, isn’t it? At least, that is what the natural instinct of most parents keeps telling them. It tells them to take extra care to make sure there’s no dirt in the house, no pets around the kids and sanitizer available at arm’s reach at all times.
Well, what if we told you that this whole thought process could be completely wrong and parents are better off not going into complete Obsessive Cleanliness mode!
There is a well researched scientific theory called the ‘Hygiene Hypothesis’ that is going to put everything you ever knew about cleanliness in doubt. The theory essentially states that exposure to good and bad germs at a young age helps the human immune system strengthen itself to resist more severe ailments later in life.
Some of the medical conditions where this has been found to have an impact include allergies, asthma, and eczema. One of the studies on the subject asserted that children raised in rural areas, with more exposure to uncontrolled germs and microbes, have a lesser chance of developing asthma or eczema. Other studies found that the inhalation of normal dust and relatively harmless germs and microbes helps strengthen the immune system against a variety of similar diseases.
It is important to remember that the studies have not been proven to be conclusive. One can only draw insights from this hypothesis and parents will surely want to do so in order to find out the level of hygiene, that is fine for their children. It’s probably impossible to raise a child in a completely sterile environment. Urban lifestyle will definitely ensure that the child is exposed to a good amount of germs and microbes.
However, the ‘Hygiene Hypothesis’ helps parents make choices about certain simple problems, for example, whether their child can stay with the dog for too long? The answer to this is a resounding yes according to the hypothesis.
The crux of the matter is that one can never be too careful as a parent, but neither should one go overboard with sanitation measures. Let’s hope that all you mothers and fathers will find that perfect balance and let your child enjoy a happy and healthy infancy.