Modern day parents are inundated with products and information on how to keep their children squeaky clean and germ free — from frequent hand washing with antibacterial soaps to constant spritzing of sanitizing sprays and germ killing gels while on the go — moms and dads think they’re doing right by their kids by keeping them in a sanitary bubble, especially during flu season. But a new study conducted at Chicago’s Northwester University suggests otherwise: exposure to everyday germs may actually help prevent heart disease in adulthood.
Everyday germs and infectious bacteria help protect people from cardiovascular diseases. When you damage the body’s natural response to an attack by germs, it results in inflammation of the heart’s surrounding tissue — and over inflammation can in turn lead to increased blood pressure, heart disease and stroke.
Professor Thomas McDade, the lead author of the study notes, “Contrary to assumptions related to earlier studies, our research suggests that ultra-clean, ultra-hygienic environments early in life may contribute to higher levels of inflammation as an adult, which in turn increases risks for a wide range of diseases.”
McDade suggests that when we protect our children from “microbes and pathogens at all costs… we may be depriving developing immune networks of important environmental input needed to guide their function throughout childhood and into adulthood.” – Beth Shea, staff writer