Shhh – for goodness sake don’t tell my kids but it might be okay to be dirty once in a while!
I came across a recent post on Planet Green that discusses a theory that has fallen in and out of popularity throughout the generations.
It cites a studyconducted at the School of Medicine at University of California, San Diego, which found that expose to certain bacteria was desirable to stimulate natural healing processes. It went on to say:
Experts have also stated that the findings offer clear scientific support for the “hygiene hypothesis.” The hypothesis argues that exposure to bacteria and other germs early in life “primes” the body to resist allergens and helps kids develop a robust immune system later in life. Keeping kids clean, advocates say, prevents them for developing the resistances they need to become healthy adults.”
My Grandmother always used to subscribe to this theory. She always said “a little dirt isn’t going to kill you.” After all, she was raised in an era where heating the water for a bath, which was taken in an ancient washtub in front of the fire, wasn’t something that you wanted to repeat more than once a week.
It is something that my kids would wholeheartedly support – in fact they are probably the most water-conserving duo in history and would happily shower no more than once or twice a month if left to their own devices.
But I feel there is truth to this popular wisdom. I can remember lots of dirt under my fingernails as a kid and I guess I’m still here. I do think that there has been an over-zealous emphasis in some circles on cleanliness (not basic sanitation) but the obsession with smelling like the toiletry department of the local Wal-Mart is going a bit too far.
What do you think? Is cleanliness over-rated?