Moms, Let Your Girls get Dirty, it's good for Them!
Did you play in dirt or outside when you were a kid? Chances are, you may be healthier now if you did. A researcher from Oregon State University found that women who have higher rates of allergies and other autoimmune disorders are “too clean.” That really makes you wonder about all the hype over hand sanitizer, Clorox wipes, and antibacterial soap now doesn’t it?
Some autoimmune diseases are seen in women more than men, and researchers think this might be because boys are encouraged to play in dirt, while girls are encouraged to stay clean. The thinking behind this is that being exposed to bacteria in dirt can actually help build a healthier immune system. Makes sense, although I think a lot of allergies or other disorders, like asthma, have a lot to do with our genetics more than anything. All three of my children have eczema, but that isn’t surprising to me since I also had it as a kid. We’ve also had our share of breathing treatments and pre-asthma signs, but I’m really not sure if playing in dirt would have helped or hindered the problems since these things run on both sides of the family.
As a mom of both boys and a girl, I’d have to say my daughter doesn’t quite fit the mold of these researchers. My little girl likes barbies, and princesses, and plenty of “girly” things – but she also loves to get dirty. She will jump right into newly formed mud, loves to check out bugs, and her new fascination is with snakes. Yes, snakes. (Mommy isn’t too thrilled about that one). My boys on the other hand? Not so much. Does that mean she will be healthier than they will be?
What do you think? Should kids be playing in dirt more to stay healthier, or should we all just go have a spa day with a mud bath?