These days kids are very vulnerable to the bacteria infections. I want to improve my understanding of how bacteria affect us and how to effectively prevent them.

My real question is, if our immune system is strong, will that prevent the bacteria enterung our body? How can we help our children have a healthy immune system to protect them from bacteria.

  • I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it's incoherent and can't be rescued to a meaningful question. – DanBeale Mar 1 '15 at 18:41

You cannot prevent bacteria from entering your body. They enter constantly, every time you use a toothbrush, rub your eyes, eat a bite of food, breathe in a cougher's aerosolized droplets, etc.

In reality, having the right kind of bacteria colonizing our oronasopharynx, our skin, our GI tract, etc. prevents many pathogenic bacteria from getting a foothold in our bodies. That is the theory (and the emerging science) behind prebiotics and probiotics (which is different than saying commercial probiotics are recommended).

How we can give good immunity power to our kids?

Our microbiomes (the make-up of the various communities of bacteria living on and inside of us) are influenced heavily by the families we are raised in, the area in which we live, etc. But we do have some influence over them. We should not be afraid of harmless bacteria.

“I think we are coming around to the view that most microbes are indeed beneficial,” says Rob Knight of the University of Colorado Boulder. “Instead of declaring war, we need to think in the context of ecosystems that make up our bodies. Figuring out how to encourage good microbes while eliminating the bad will be of increasing importance.”

Without going into too much detail (you can search the internet for useful advice), some things are being recommended to promote a healthy microbiome (applying common sense is always important, of course), such as:

  • eat more plants and less highly-processed foods: vegetables and leafy greens promote a healthier microbiome.
  • keep a pet: families that have an indoor dog tend to have fewer allergies and certain other illnesses.
  • visit a farm (an organic dairy farm with perhaps a petting zoo).
  • avoid unnecessary antibiotics; don't self-prescribe antibiotics (for example, don't save the last few pills from a prescription of antibiotics to take "next time you come down with a bug").
  • know the difference between viruses (they do not respond to antibiotics) and bacteria. Don't ask your doctor for antibiotics when you are told you have a virus.
  • avoid unnecessary 'industrial strength' household cleaners (mild detergents and elbow grease are frequently good enough. You don't need a germ-free home; it won't ever happen anyway).
  • tend a small garden.
  • get your proper immunizations. Some are for protection against harmful bacteria.

In general**, do what doctors have been advocating for decades: eat healthily, get outside, exercise, etc. and wash your hands often with soap and water. And don't worry too much about fighting normal bacteria.

** Obviously, if you have special circumstances, follow your doctor's recommendations.

Your Changing Microbiome <- Easy-to-understand introduction
The Human Microbiome <- Introduction to wide range of topics regarding microbiomes
Change Your Microbiome, Change Yourself <- Interesting reading
Research Shows How Household Dogs Protect Against Asthma, Infection
The farm effect

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  • 1
    Hah, that's a new word for me - Oronasopharynx. That's the composite of the two passages that take air to the lungs, the oral pharynx (from the mouth) and the nasal pharynx (from the nose), but prior to the larynx (laryngeal pharynx, at about your throat)? – Joe Feb 27 '15 at 15:03
  • @Joe - exactly. :-) – anongoodnurse Feb 27 '15 at 19:23

A short answer, but I think it is a bit too relevant for a comment:

Cows. Let your kid meet cows in an old-style farm. I could not find any english-language sources yet, but bovine germs are usually close enough to human ones to train the immune system, but harmless enough to a human to be... well, harmless.
Actually, cows gave us the way to the first smallpox vaccine: cowpox

Also: don't disinfect everything. Keep things clean, but there is usually no need for disinfectant. (Exceptions occur when someone in the household already is ill, but that is another matter)

A short answer for the Immune System: it doesn't keep germs out, but it DOES destroy them. And once it knows a germ (having been through an infection once, or by vaccination), it will usually know the response.
Good food, exercise and general healthy living will of course always help -> When you are in good physical condition, you can more easily deal with diseases weakening you.

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In addition to the excellent answer presented by Anongoodnurse, I would suggest that if you're specifically looking to limit bacterial infection in your respiratory system, as well as viral infections of the same, one major thing you can do is to look at the humidity of your home.

In colder, drier climates (think US Upper Midwest or central Canada for example), airborne viruses and bacteria have an easier time infecting your respiratory system when the air is more dry, in part because that dryness can irritate your respiratory system. Your lungs are naturally fairly wet (which is part of what facilitates oxygen transfer). When dry they can get irritated, and that makes it easier for viruses or bacteria to successfully infect you. This is why 'colds' are common in the winter - primarily not because of the temperature, but the dry air. Over air conditioning your home can have a similar effect if you live in a drier area to begin with.

The Mayo Clinic has a good article on the benefits and drawbacks of humidifiers, and they point out that over-humidifying is dangerous as well (as it encourages mold, some other allergens, and even bacteria to grow). Aiming for 30-50% humidity is about right.

In extremely humid climates, such as India or Malaysia, the high humidity may be just as dangerous if not more; in particular, molds grow very easily, and while most of these molds don't actually colonize your body, they can cause allergies and asthma, and cause your body to be vulnerable to infection from other sources. Being careful to keep your home not too humid, and watching for (in particular) black mold on the walls, is one good thing you can do to avoid this.

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  • This is great advice. +1 from me. – anongoodnurse Feb 27 '15 at 19:40

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