Have We Become Too Clean?
It seems the more advanced our society becomes and the
cleaner we get, the more prevalent food and other
The occurrences of common allergies are much higher in
more developed countries than in their lesser
developed counter parts. And the numbers are
increasing as industrialization spreads through out
According to the hygiene hypothesis, the modern
methods of cleaning and sanitizing get rid of too many
germs. The body’s natural immune system doesn’t have
enough to do.
In children, it doesn’t develop the way it should. And
since allergies are an incorrect response of the
immune system, childhood and adult allergies have
become more prevalent.
Studies also show that common allergic diseases like
hay fever, eczema and food allergies are found less
often in children from large families.
Apparently being exposed to infectious agents (germs)
by brothers and sisters is a good thing. It helps the
immune system learn what it’s supposed to protect our
Antibiotic usage during a baby’s first year and the
growing use of antibacterial cleaning products has
also been linked to an increase in asthma and other
The hygiene hypothesis explains that the antibacterial
cleaning products and antibiotic drugs limit our
immune system’s exposure to infectious diseases,
parasites and other bacteria.
This limits the immune systems development. Because of
the lack of dirt and germs, the immune system doesn’t
learn what it’s supposed to be protecting the body
from and goes after the wrong things.