Bacteria and their positive influence on the human body

Bacteria in the Dirt Offer Protection from Allergies General, Skin

Bakerien im Dreck

Many of the bacteria in dirt and soil are by no means unhealthy, but rather very beneficial to the human organism. If you come in contact with dirt regularly during childhood, you will be much less likely to develop allergies later in life. [Link]. A study from the University of Marburg supports this theory. The scientists compared the risk of developing allergies for children growing up on farms to that of urban children. The result: Children in farming families were found to be only half as likely to develop allergic asthma or allergic coryza (hay fever) than their urban peers.

Since the mid-20th century, the allergy prevalence has grown significantly in western societies. Today, some 20 percent of all Germans suffer from one or more allergies. Experts such as David Strachan, an epidemiologist, consider improved hygiene, among others, to be responsible.

Too much hygiene can be detrimental. In an interview with Deutschlandfunk, microbiologist Susanne Thiele advocates a more relaxed attitude towards dirt at home. “We are cleaning too much, thus increase our chance of getting sick. There is such a thing as ‘too clean’”, she says. Our view of bacteria was very negative. A mere 0.1 percent of all bacteria really caused diseases. Trying to remove all bacteria also sweeps away healthy bacteria, leaving room for pathogens. “This way, we’re actually promoting allergies”, warns Susanne Thiele.

Similar statements can be heard from microbiologists Brett Finlay and Marie-Claire Arrieta, authors of the 2016 book “Let Them Eat Dirt: Saving Your Child from an Oversanitized World”. In engaging, down-to-earth language, the two scientists explain how exposure to microbes in early childhood affects our health in later years. They, too, see a direct connection between the growing prevalence of chronic diseases and the over-sanitized environments in today’s society. “They are our new epidemics, our modern-day bubonic plague”, they say in the book. If we want to avoid developing allergies at an early age, and want to keep avoiding them, we have to tolerate bacteria in our environment – even those in dirt and soil.



Bacteria in the Dirt Offer Protection from Allergies
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