Microbiologist Jack Gilbert says, as parents, we’ve been making a mistake in over-sterilizing our environment. For one thing, we shouldn’t keep our children from getting dirty outside or sterilize them as soon as they come inside. We should let the dog lick them. Sure, wash their hands a lot when it’s cold season, but don’t be afraid of a little dirt.
Gilbert is the author of Dirt is Good: The Advantage of Germs for Your Child’s Developing Immune System.
He’s the Faculty Director of The Microbiome Center at The University of Chicago. He’s also a Group Leader at Argonne National Laboratory and an Adjunct Senior Scientist at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole.