Why Your Kids Should Play In Dirt (Seriously!)

It's true: if you want your kids to avoid asthma and allergies, then let your baby roll around on the floor and come into contact some of the grossest things in your house, new research says.

According to a Time report on a study published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, babies exposed to the things we vigorously try to remove from our homes — including mouse dander, cat dander and cockroach droppings — were less likely to be wheezing by age three.

Turns out that kids who are completely allergy-free are likely to have grown up in homes with the most allergens and bacteria around. By contrast, those who were best protected from the allergens and bacteria wound up most likely to have allergies and asthma. Yikes!

How come? Well, as Time says,

"It’s possible you’ve heard of the 'hygiene hypothesis,' which is the speculation that the reason Americans have so many allergies is because we are, quite simply, too clean. Kids are kept in such sterile environments that they never build immunities to common allergens."

When it comes to your kids, as disgusting as it may seem, letting them play around on the floor and in the dirt might just save them a lifetime of respiratory issues and allergies down the road. Plus, they're probably also having fun! Win, win!

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