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Why ‘Dirt is Good’ For a Child’s Developing Immune System

Is my house too clean? Should I get a dog? Is it okay for my child to eat dirt?

For many parents, questions of hygiene and health weigh heavily on their minds. A new book argues that a fixation on cleanliness won’t lead to healthier children. It’s called “Dirt is Good: The Advantage of Germs for Your Child’s Developing Immune System.”

One of the book’s co-authors, Jack Gilbert, joins Chicago Tonight for a conversation. He’s a professor at the University of Chicago’s Department of Surgery and faculty director of its Microbiome Center.


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