Dirt Is Good: The Advantage of Germs for Your Child's Developing Immune System

Author:
Jack Gilbert, Rob Knight, Sandra Blakeslee
Publisher:
St. Martin’s Press
Category:
Health

This book appeared in Advance Copy, a column in which NASW book editor Lynne Lamberg asks NASW authors to tell how they came up with the idea for their book, developed a proposal, found an agent and publisher, funded and conducted research, and put the book together. She also asks what they wish they had known before they began working on their book, what they might do differently the next time, and what tips they can offer aspiring authors. She then edits the A part of that Q&A to produce the author reports you see here. Publication of NASW members’ reports in Advance Copy does not indicate NASW’s endorsement of their books. NASW welcomes your comments, and hopes this column stimulates productive discussions. To join the discussion or submit your book, visit Advance Copy.

From two of the world’s top scientists and one of the world’s top science writers (all parents), Dirt Is Good is a Q&A-based guide to everything you need to know about kids and germs.

“Is it OK for my child to eat dirt?”

That’s just one of the many questions authors Jack Gilbert and Rob Knight are bombarded with every week from parents all over the world. They've heard everything from “My two-year-old gets constant ear infections. Should I give her antibiotics? Or probiotics?” to “I heard that my son’s asthma was caused by a lack of microbial exposure. Is this true, and if so what can I do about it now?”

Google these questions, and you’ll be overwhelmed with answers. The internet is rife with speculation and misinformation about the risks and benefits of what most parents think of as simply germs, but which scientists now call the microbiome: the combined activity of all the tiny organisms inside our bodies and the surrounding environment that have an enormous impact on our health and well-being. Who better to turn to for answers than Drs. Gilbert and Knight, two of the top scientists leading the investigation into the microbiome — an investigation that is producing fascinating discoveries and bringing answers to parents who want to do the best for their young children. Dirt Is Good is a comprehensive, authoritative, accessible guide you've been searching for.