A new study out of Finland (and published in the journal Pediatrics) showed that children growing up with pets (namely cats and dogs) had fewer respiratory infections during their first year of life. Also, the children had fewer ear infections and needed less antibiotics during that year. The theory is that pets help stress a newborns immune system. The stress to the system ultimately strengthens the child's immunity.
Today, there is a lot of paranoia about excessive cleanliness for children. And while we want a clean home and relatively clean environment, too much sanitizing can have a negative affect on our lives and the lives of our children. The immune system becomes strong through "exercise." Our immunity needs to be tested in order to develop antibodies against harmful microorganisms. Overly sanitizing our children prevents them for forming the proper immunity and exposes them to health problems in the future. Perhaps the best example of "exercising" our immune system is the use of vaccines. The vaccines force our bodies to form antibodies against harmful organisms and, hopefully, prevent us from contracting serious conditions.
So, teach your children to wash their hands and use cleanliness in their lives, but let them play in the dirt! Let them exercise their immune systems so that they can grow into healthier adults. If you want to read more on this study, please follow this link.
If you have any questions regarding this topic, feel free to call our office at (847) 673-6600 or visit us on the web at www.HealingHandsOfSkokie.com!