Eating a handful of sand never hurt me. How often have you heard a grandparent say this? Turns out they’re right.
“The good bacteria that live in our gut for the rest of our life is established in the first 18 months,” said Doctor Kin Lee. “Once there, the good stop the bad from colonising.”
When a baby passes through in the birth canal, good bacteria is the first gift their immune system receives. Breastfeeding too adds to the diversity of good gut bacteria.
“We shouldn’t over sanitise young children with antibacterial wipes and sterile environments,” said Doctor Lee.
A recent Melbourne University study reported that children who grow up on farms in their first few years were 54 per cent less likely to have asthma or hay fever as adults than those who grew up in inner city areas.
“Some worries about germs are valid, especially when E. coli and the gastro causing bug Salmonella are present,” said Doctor Lee. “But we also need to think about creating a good bacteria environment for children.”
If there is a hygiene threat, then use an antibacterial agent. But in healthy households, ask yourself why am I using an antibacterial agent? If there is no real threat, then you’re killing the good bacteria designed to strengthen children’s immune systems.