When Jack Gilbert was a new father, he got advice about a proper care of his child, for instance, when to use antibiotics, or how frequently to sterilize his pacifier. Jack Gilbert is a scientist who researches microbial ecosystems.
So, when his second child was born, he decided to reveal what are the risks when a child comes in touch with germs. And, according to Jack, exposing the child to germs turned out to be beneficial.
He suggests that when a pacifier falls on the floor, and you lick it, and then put it in your child’s mouth, his immune system can be improved.
Moreover, Gilbert wrote a book to answer many questions that parents have questioned since forever. His book is named Dirt is Good: The Advantage of Germs for Your Child’s Developing Immune System.
Below, you are going to read information from an interview with Jack Gilbert.
1. What do parents get wrong?
According to Jack, over-sterilizing the environment and never letting a child get dirty is a mistake. For instance, when a child gets filthy outdoors, the parent is then sterilizing it and makes sure none of the dirt gets close to their face.
And, keeping a child away from animals is not good. Of course, parents can wash their hands if there is some flu or a virus, but a dog’s lick is not a bad thing, on the contrary, it is beneficial.
2. Is hand sanitizer positive or negative?
Jack says that hand sanitizer is bad, but water and soap are just fine and do not harm a child’s health that much.
3. The 5-second rule (when something falls on the ground it takes 5 seconds to get dirty)
As Jack reported, this 5-second rule is not real. He says that only milliseconds are enough for microbes to attach to a piece of food. However, it is not dangerous if you drop food on a floor that is not that infectious.
4. Should a pacifier be washed or licked when it falls on the floor?
Jack says that according to a study 184 children whose parents have licked their pacifiers appeared to have a better immune system.
5. Are allergies a result of overprotection?
Well, Jack reported that allergies are absolutely a result of overprotection. When back in the days, people used to let their children be in touch with animals, plants, dirt, etc. However, now we all live in sterilized homes. So, the immune system of the children is hyper-sensitized.
Moreover, Jack explains that a human’s body contains neutrophils which get too bored when they do not have anything to do. So, when they notice something such as a piece of pollen, they become inflammatory. And that is the reason behind asthma, eczema, as well as food allergies.
6. Jack Gilbert’s advice.
The scientist Jack Gilbert recommends you to involve colorful and leafy veggies and fiber in your child’s diet. But, the most important advice he can give is to let your child experience many things. There is no risk if the child is vaccinated, so not being overprotective when it comes to germs will make your child stronger.
All in all, parents, you should not be so stressed about your child eating the chocolate that has fallen on your carpet. Also, feel free to let your children play with your pets. You want to raise healthier children, right?