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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Are Germs really THAT Bad?

This post could also be called Babies Part Deux because I am again thinking about my newborn niece and nephew. I have a feeling these two additions to my family will often be the topic of many of my thoughts.

So my nephew was born a week ago, and I still haven't seen the little guy. I was planning on visiting Anna (my sister) and him this past weekend, but after talking to my hysterical sister on the phone, I opted out. Apparently the nurses at her hospital had her sign an agreement swearing that she wouldn't let her baby be exposed to any individual who has been sick or has even recently come in contact with someone sick. Doesn't that basically rule out everyone? Well apparently it ruled me out since people on my track team have been sick. On the phone, Anna (sobbing) told me "He is losing weight and not getting enough to eat as it is, and if he gets sick and starts throwing up then he will die!" Yikes, talk about a good way of keeping me away. I then called my other sister Lee who told me to come visit her and her two-week-old baby girl instead. Obviously she never signed any aforementioned paper.

I understand why Anna is so touchy about her son contracting an illness, it being her first time as a mother and having those papers to sign. Hopefully she will eventually grow out of this fear. It is a pet peeve of mine when parents make you wash your hands or apply Germ-X whenever you are interacting with their child. The children need to build up their immune systems! Plus, do these parents really think they can eliminate all germs their children are exposed to?

I found that a pediatric doctor believes in a relatively anti-bacterial free environment for his toddler who needs to attain a strong immune system. I agree with this idea, but I wouldn't go as far as letting the child eat random food off the ground....yuck! This doctor believes in the "Hygiene Hypothesis" that Andrew referred to in his post for the blog site Leading Cause of Death. Being exposed to germs at an early age can help us fight allergies, asthma, and diseases later in life. Another article states that "studies have claimed that babies and children who grow up with multiple pets, siblings, or spend a lot of time in daycare are less likely to have wheezing, certain allergies and asthma". To me, it's a moderation thing. Allow children to be exposed to germs in moderation, and don't be an anti-bacterial freak.

Maybe I'll see my nephew some day........


  1. I agree that children should be exposed to different kinds of things in order to build up immune responses, but they do still need to be aware of diseases that other people might have. I've always hear that if you're sick you should stay away from babies and old people.

  2. I couldn't agree with you more. There is a happy medium that needs to be met; in this day in age, that medium is definitely leaning toward the anti-bacterial freak side.

  3. I agree with Brandi and Andrew. Kids do need to be able to build up their immune systems. People these days are so afraid of a little cold, that they use all these anti-antibacterials which may help in the present time, but may eventually cause antibiotic resistant strands of bacteria. These stands can end up being more harmful than the bacteria that are out there now. You cant protect your kids from everything, they are going to get sick no matter what you do or don't do.