Children and the Fight Against Germs: Less is More
Itâ€™s no secret that those cute kids of ours are surrounded by and carriers of lots of germs; and because their immune systems havenâ€™t built a resistance to the various germs our world contains, they are more likely to contract illnesses germs carry than adults.Â This has sent some parents into war mode to prevent their children from being exposed to germs.
Few question their use of anti-bacterial soaps, hand sanitizers, home cleaners, and the like.Â However, in recent years said products have begun to be questioned.
Obviously, no one endorses children living in filth, but over-cleaning can actually harm children.Â Overusing anti-bacterial products kills important microbes.Â Microbes are tiny organisms found in most things in life, including soil, plants, animals, and even some of the foods we eat; bacteria, for instance, is a type of microbe.Â Some microbes are healthy and essential parts of our lives, while others can be carriers for illnesses.
Anti-bacterial products, when overused, effectively kill both bad microbes and the good ones humans, and especially children, need to strengthen their immune systems.
And with widespread overuse of antibiotics and anti-bacterial products comes something very serious: supergerms, i.e. germs that can survive exposure to anti-bacterial products and, even worse, antibiotics.Â What this means is that there exist, and will exist in the future, germs that we do not have the capabilities to fight with modern medicine.
Taking a less dooms-day approach to the situation, here are steps you can take to protect and encourage the growth of your childâ€™s immune system.
Feed Your Children Bacteria
You heard right.Â Known as â€œprobiotic,â€ certain foods contain healthy microbes within them.Â It is important and healthy for your childâ€™s immune system for them to eat probiotic foods.Â Examples include yogurt, dark chocolate, and pickles.
Never push for a doctor to prescribe your child antibiotics and always ask if there is an alternative to antibiotics if your doctor prescribes them.Â While antibiotics kill the microbes causing your childâ€™s illness, they also kill healthy microbes your childâ€™s developing immune system needs.Â If your child must take antibiotics, be sure to include probiotic foods in his/her diet to restore some of those healthy microbes.
Cool It With The Anti-Bacterial Products
Avoid using anti-bacterial products except in cases when someone in the house is sick, and even then do so sparingly.Â Instead, clean your house with natural cleaning products, like vinegar.Â And avoid antibacterial hand soaps; again, keep some at the ready in the instance that someone in the family gets seriously sick or your child touches something that could carry a very bad microbe, like raw meat which is a known carrier of salmonella.