Americans have become phobic about germs. We’ve been urged to wash our hands dozens of times a day to avoid catching colds or the flu. Antibacterial gels, sprays and wipes are promoted to reduce exposure to bacteria and viruses. A study in The New England Journal of Medicine suggests, however, that children may benefit from early exposure to certain bacteria. The study compared children growing up on a farm to those who have no exposure to farm animals. Children who lived on farms were less likely to have asthma or eczema. The more types of microbes kids were exposed to, the less likely they were to have asthma. Early exposure to a broader range of germs seems to explain why youngsters are less likely to develop breathing problems later in life.
[New England Journal of Medicine, Feb. 24, 2011]

Join Over 52,000 Subscribers at The People's Pharmacy

Each week we send two newsletters with breaking health updates, prescription drug interaction information, home remedies and our award-winning radio program. Join our mailing list and get the information you need to make confident choices about your health.

  1. Al
    Reply

    I believe it, a Doctor told me the same thing a few years ago. Back to nature or natural remedies with less drugs and chemicals.

  2. Jan S.
    Reply

    I’m 74 years old, like my husband and we can’t remember the last time we had a cold. We use no antibacterial stuff (gives me eczema), I clean often with a sponge, use same wooden board for years in the kitchen, and we are just never sick. Our son lost his job and has lived with us 3 years- no colds when he used to get them all the time. All this fuss about germs is not so good for us, but we are not filthy or anything and I do wash my hands often.

What Do You Think?

Share your thoughts with others, but be mindful of protecting your own and others' privacy. Not all comments will be posted. Advice from web visitors is not a substitute for medical attention. Do not stop any medicine without checking with the prescriber. In posting a comment, you agree to our commenting policy and website terms and conditions.