I'm so glad that people are starting to re-learn this valuable lesson! I've noticed this on my own as well - if you grow up playing outside and getting dirty, you'll be less affected by outside allergens as an adult. I grew up playing in my grandparent's forest and fields, and I am minimally affected by the incredibly high pollen count that Eugene, Oregon has. I'm so grateful!
Girls who play in dirt grow up healthier according to researcher
Sharyn Clough, a researcher at Oregon State University, has discovered that women who have higher rates of allergies, and other autoimmune disorders are a result of being too clean. In other words, parents who let their children run amok in dirt or mud tend to have healthier kids.
"Look, if you're okay having your little boy play in the dirt, you should be okay having your little girl play out in the dirt as well," Clough explained to King 5.
Women infected with the auto-immune disease Lupus outnumber their male counterparts 9-to-1. While there isn't a concise explanation as to why the disease occurs more frequently in women, the expectation for young girls to stay cleaner than boys may provide a reason.
"Little boys are more often than little girls encouraged to play in the dirt. Little girls are dressed in clothing that's not supposed to get dirty," added Clough.
Being exposed to high amounts of bacteria found in dirt can actually help build a healthier immune system.
"There is some thought that getting exposed to things, even parasites and different microbial elements in the dirt, might actually improve the overall immunity that a child develops," said Dr. Aoi Mizushima of Providence Medical Group Family Practice.
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