Rob Knight, the academic superstar who is leading the Center for Microbiome Innovation at UC San Diego, says it’s important for kids to get dirty! He explains that exposing children to natural bacteria in the environment trains their immune systems how to respond to foreign threats. So, resist that urge to sterilize everything kids touch because you’re not helping. Instead, let them roll around in the grass, swim in rivers and the ocean, and cuddle with dogs. You might wince at the contact, but the germs they meet will make them stronger in the long run.
To learn more, check out Rob’s book, “Dirt is Good,” or watch him here:
Are children today sicker or healthier than we were?
Increasingly, things that were thought to be a normal part of childhood are being recognized and treated as chronic medical conditions. Where do we draw the line between these “normal things that kids get” and “medical conditions?”
In the face of a seemingly rapid increase in the number of children with acute and chronic illnesses, the new UCSF Mini Medical School series, “New Approaches to Keeping Kids Healthy,” explores what we know and what remains a mystery (or a simple myth) and challenges you to think in new ways about old concepts in pediatric medicine.
The six-part series runs through the first week of November. You can find all program listings at the series page, with more coming online each week. Here’s what’s available now: