Omaha News | WOWT 6 News

Too Clean, Sick Kids


If you feel guilty because you can't keep your house spotless, stop worrying. New research says we can actually be too clean for our own good. As Serese Cole found out, it could make our kids - sick.

Renee Loftus has never used a cleaner she didn't like.
Her kids know the drill, too.

"When we're coming from the doctors office or somewhere we know we're exposed to a lot of germs - we definitely take a bath right away - or we'll wash their coats," said Loftus.

All to keep her four-year-old twins - healthy.

"We all want to keep our kids safe, but sometimes I think we might go overboard, " said Dr. Kari Simonsen, Infectious Disease Pediatrician at Children's Hospital.

Dr .Simonsen says keeping kids too clean can actually make them sick.

"There is probably some training to our immune system - that goes on in childhood. As we encounter the normal germs that are faced in the environment and even some of those common infections - that helps our immune become stronger and that's part of growing up," Dr. Simonsen said.

So when kids aren't exposed to germs early, their chances for getting things like asthma, allergies and other diseases go up.

"Kids who have been exposed either to group settings, like preschool, daycare or come from large families my have more frequent infections in their infant and toddler years, and then go on to be healthier once they reach school age."

Serese Cole, "Lets face it if you have little ones, you know everything they touch from their toys to their teddy bears are are going to have germs, but doctors say its okay - it's also okay to relax the cleaning."

"Aside from typical everyday cleaning - there's no reason to go overboard and super sanitize," said Dr. Simonsen.

As for those germs we worry about so much....

"Things in dirt - those really don't have any risk to human health in most cases," Dr. Simonsen said.

Renee admits her quest for clean - doesn't always pay off.

"So as much as I do to try and prevent it - I think they've been just as sick as anybody else," said Loftus.

Proving the old saying - a little dirt - never hurts.

So how do you know if you're keeping your kids too clean? If you find yourself keeping them from normal activities, large groups or gatherings or constantly wiping down their toys.


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