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Why Dirt Is Good: 5 Ways to Make Germs Your Friends Hardcover – January 6, 2009


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Kaplan Publishing; 1 edition (January 6, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1427798044
  • ISBN-13: 978-1427798046
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.7 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #586,270 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In her first book, microbiology and immunology teacher Ruebush demonstrates a lively mastery of her subject, providing a better education in immunology than a convincing case for the idea that "the most delightful sights for a parent should be a young child covered in dirt from an active afternoon of outdoor play." Her thesis, reiterated throughout, is that obsessive cleanliness is counterproductive: a "young, naïve immune system" needs exposure to germs "to build the ability to produce the right response quickly." Arguing that evolution has conditioned us to coexist with the microscopic threats around us-a human body typically harbors "some 90 trillion microbes"-Ruebush considers the legacy of "superbugs" bred through the overuse of antibiotics and cleaning products, and dismisses vaccination fears as ridiculous ("not even a question"). Ruebush presents a step-by-step guide to the workings of the immune system that should inform readers new to the subject, but her breezy and repetitive approach to arguing her thesis probably won't win over any doubters.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

About the Author

Mary Ruebush, PhD., is an award-winning teacher whose studies on germs and bacteria have been published in several scholarly journals. She is the author of the Immunology step 1 lecture notes, and coauthor of Microbiology.  Currently she teaches exclusively with Kaplan Medical as an instructor of Immunology and Microbiology for Step 1 USMLE review.

More About the Author

Instructor of Microbiology and Immunology for Becker's Falcon Physician Reviews. 20 years teaching USMLE Step 1 reviews for COMPASS, Kaplan, and now Falcon. Author of Kaplan Lecture notes in Immunology, co-author of Kaplan Microbiology lecture notes.

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Kristine Lofgren VINE VOICE on March 2, 2009
Format: Hardcover
In this book, Mary Ruebush makes the case that we need to get a little "dirtier" if we want to improve our health and the health of generations to come.

Laid out in 5 different sections, this book explains how we have created "super-germs" and have actually lowered our immune response with our use of anti-bacterials and our hyper-cleanliness and how a little dirt and allowing our immune system to actually do its job will make us healthier in the long run. She shows that the use antibiotics, except in the most serious cases, actually weakens our immunity and how your immune system tends to become lazy and ineffective if it isn't given a job. She also explains the importance of vaccinations. Explained in simple terms and accompanied by cartoons, this book is a super quick read and based in solid scientific evidence. I give it four stars only because it is less an actual book and more like a hard-bound essay it is so short.

After taking an hour to read this book front to end, I found myself taking a deep breath and resolving to follow the advice laid out in this book, despite my germ-o-phobia, that is how convincing and solid this book is.

I would recommend this book to anyone curious about "Why dirt is good", but particularly those with babies or parents-to-be, as that is the primary audience that this book is aimed at. Not only will you find yourself having a better understanding of how our immune system works, you will find yourself better armed to deal with the day to day life with germs.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By R. P. Stratton on August 26, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The author of this very readable little book makes the case that children should experience germs in order to acquire immunity. I have passed this book on to friends who have children and are almost paranoid about germs, using antibacterial hand soap, etc., at every opportunity. As a psychologist, I extent this idea to include acquiring immunity, or resiliance, through childhood by experiencing life's disappointments, such as losing in sports and friendships, so children can learn to cope with the little things before having to cope with similar big things later in life. Unfortunately too many parents today are over-protective and shelter their children from disappointments.
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Format: Hardcover
She explains why a little dirt is a good thing and why too clean is a bad thing. My grand kids should be really healthy. A couple days ago my 1.5 year old grandson was sitting in the sandbox just grinning away with a mouth full of d sand and dirt.
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By sari azrak on January 31, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Its a short book, but full of interesting and helpful pieces of knowledge. the material was presented very clearly and concisely, most of it in terms that normal people can comprehend. it explains clearly how normal household germs strengthen the immune system, and how the ultra hygienic times we live in can actually weaken it and increase allergies to common items. every germophobe should study this from end to end! germs are good!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
There would be a lot less sick kiddos out there if all moms would learn to understand the scientific reasons for letting your children get dirty and enjoy being a kid!
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