Could this be why so many kids can't breathe?

Once upon a time, it was the norm for us as kids to go outside and get a little dirt on our hands and clothes. Today... not so much.

Kids are spending all their time indoors, glued to electronic screens and bathed in hand sanitizers and antibacterial soaps.

Now, the latest science backs up what I've been sharing with you: that being "too clean" is making us sick.

Because in a new study, scientists have found a type of bacteria that protects children from getting asthma.

A microbiologist from the University of British Columbia has proposed something that sounds totally counterintuitive: kids with access to clean water had MORE cases of asthma.

The reason? They didn't have the good kind of microbes. Kids and dirt can be a healthy thing -- if it's the right kind.

Beneficial "bugs" in the gut can help prevent infections in kids. But the researcher found that little tikes in Canada who were deficient in certain strains -- Faecalibacterium, Lachnospira, Rothia, and Veillonella -- were more likely to exhibit wheezing and other early indicators of asthma.

He also found that toddlers around the same age in Ecuador who were more likely to develop asthma had an overgrowth of a type of yeast (called Pichia) in their guts.

And you know where this yeast can be found? In clean water.

Canada and Ecuador were chosen because of their unusually high rates of asthma (about 10 percent of the total population), but the same applies here in the U.S.... where asthma rates are exploding.

Many studies have shown a correlation between later-age asthma and early-age antibiotic use. And, as you know, antibiotics have a habit of wiping out your gut's colony of bacteria (and of allowing an overgrowth of yeast).

Now, no one wants to see their youngest family members struggling to breathe when an asthma attack hits. But as I've shared with you before, our obsession with germ-free living is literally destroying our immune systems.

The answer isn't to drink dirty water. After all, clean water in our taps does keep us from contracting some pretty deadly diseases.

But because replenishing the "good" bacteria in your gut can bulk up your line of defense against any "bad" bacteria, we need to find a way to replenish the gut bugs that modulate our immune systems.

The best way to do that is to take a probiotic every day.

For some folks, even a probiotic capsule with billions of colony-forming units (CFUs) won't be quite enough, so I suggest eating a diet that includes plenty of fermented foods and beverages like Greek yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, and kombucha.

For a better way to live "germ-free," try nature's own vampire repellant and natural germicide, garlic. If you don't love eating it with your food, you can also take it as a supplement, along with a multi-vitamin that contains other immune-boosting nutrients like vitamins C and E and selenium zinc.