There’s a tendency in our modern culture to be obsessive about cleanliness, especially in children. But the evidence is growing that a little dirt is good for you and probably even essential to keeping your body in sound working order.
You Need Dirt to ‘Exercise’ Your Immune System
Your immune system is composed of two main groups that work together to protect you. One part of your immune system deploys specialized white blood cells called Th1 lymphocytes, which direct an assault on infected cells throughout your body.
The other major part of your immune system attacks intruders even earlier. It produces antibodies that try to block dangerous microbes from invading your body’s cells in the first place. This latter strategy uses a different variety of white blood cells, called Th2 lymphocytes.The Th2 system also happens to drive allergic responses to foreign organisms. At birth, an infant’s immune system appears to rely primarily on the Th2 system, while waiting for the Th1 system to grow stronger.