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Are we being too clean?

Should kids do chores and why

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Are you forever using the antibacterial wipes or more worried are we being too clean? ‘A little bit of muck never hurt anyone’, or if you are to believe the numerous TV adverts and articles about germs and bacteria spreading like wildfire, then a little bit of muck is to be avoided at all costs! We are well aware that harmful bacteria can cause illness, but while we are busy attacking every surface with a germ killing spray, packing up handbags with hand sanitizers and making sure our children don’t touch anything before you’ve wiped it clean, are we cutting out any chance of becoming ill or are we actually doing more harm that good?

Allergies on the rise

It would seem that our ultra hygienic habits may be contributing to the rise of allergies and auto-immune disorder and new strains of bacteria are becoming resistant to all the killer sprays and disinfectants we are aiming their way. The simple theory behind this is that our bodies are so used to any form of bacteria being banished, we are unable to build up a sufficient immune system and that when we are exposed to everyday simple germs, we can’t cope and have an allergic over reaction.

Which kids are healthier?are we being too clean?

Research backing this claim up shows that children born into farming families and therefore exposed to more outdoor bacteria and germs, have much lower rates of allergies than children born in cities where their homes tend to be more disinfected and germ free. The same goes for children who live in homes with pets or who are part of bigger families, their natural defences are stronger than children that come from protected homes and this appears to be the biggest reason why allergies have risen so much. Diseases that derive from our auto-immune systems also include Type 1 diabetes, multiple sclerosis and Chrohn’s disease in which sufferer’s immune systems attack the body’s own cells. So is there a way of helping prevent these conditions?

All in the genes

While genetics will always play a part in determining whether children are susceptible to certain conditions, some believe that pregnant mothers can also play a role in prevention before their child is born. A baby’s first exposure to bacteria is via the mother and the first bacteria that babies are exposed to while still in the womb, is thought to be essential in establishing immunity. As a result, experts believe it possible for women to pass on good bacteria to babies and during a recent study comparing rates of eczema in babies, some women where given a pro biotic while others received a placebo during pregnancy. The results found that babies with fewer good bacteria and higher levels of bad bacteria in their gut were more like to have eczema.


Another conditions linked with allergies is Asthma where symptoms are triggered by reaction to certain pollens, dust mites, pet hair and moulds. Parents have become so obsessed with ensuring homes are spotless and totally void of any germ or bacteria that their children haven’t the opportunity to build up any natural immunity.

A happy medium?

So is there a middle ground to this issue? We don’t want to stop washing or cleaning but shouldn’t be too obsessive with anti-bacterial products either. Good old soap and water can be just as effective as anti bacterial sprays and sanitizers and toilets and bathrooms should be cleaned regularly, especially taps, handles and toilet seats. Hand washing after you have used the loo or before handling food should continue and good food storage to avoid cross contamination is a must. Use common sense, but picking up the odd Malteser that dropped on the floor probably is less harmful than you think!



About Rebecca Robinson

About Rebecca Robinson

After spending the last 8 years juggling life as a mum of two, wife and working full time as a Project Manager for a global telecommunications company, Rebecca Robinson made the decision to follow her love of writing and took the plunge; turning her passion into a full time career. Since becoming a full time writer, Rebecca has worked with various media and copy-writing companies and with the ability to make any topic relevant and interesting to the reader, now contributes to The Working Parent on articles ranging from credit cards to teenage relationships. Ever the optimist, Rebecca's dreams for the future include a house in the country filled with children, dogs and horses in the field!

Website: Rebecca Robinson

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