That’s what my grandmother would often say when one of us was upset about something falling on the floor or hands being dirty or some such thing. Her answer was simply “don’t worry about it, you’ll eat a peck of dirt before you die”, this usually resulted in a shrug from us kids since we didn’t quite understand what she was talking about, since no one really “eats” dirt, right?

A new study from the University of California School of Medicine have found that keeping a child too clean inhibits the skin’s inability to heal itself. According to The Guardian, researchers found that the bacteria that normally live on our skin trigger a pathway that helps prevent inflammation. Staphylcocci bacteria which are nasty when they get under our skin are actually acting as good bacteria when they are on the outside of our bodies. They reduce the inflammation in cuts, scrapes and prevent rashes to the skin.

The argument was raised that given our recent craze with anti-bacterial everything, there is a correlation to increased allergies in children. Dirt and germs in normal exposure is said to give children’s a better immunological response later in life.

So, seems Nanny might have been right, dirt may just be what the doctor ordered.