If I remember correctly, it was a lack of telephone hygienists that caused a huge loss of life in `The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy`.
On the BBC news last night it was suggested that children may well benefit from not being brought up in a sterile atmosphere. The adage `you`ve got to eat a bit of dirt before you die` comes to mind. As children we used to go to `Chicken Pox parties` to ensure we all went down with it at a similar time. This also applied to other infectious diseases of childhood. We also played in the dirt and made `mud pies`.
On the other hand hospitals always smelled of bleach and antiseptic (cleanliness being next to godliness) as the nurses were always cleaning; watched over by Matron.
Perhaps the concern over disease and the reliance upon anti-biotic (medication and materials) has led to an oversensitising of society to those ailments which we used to become immune to as part of growing up. The reverse appears to be true in hospitals which are more likely to smell of air freshener than bleach. Cleanliness is important but so is a natural resistance to disease that can be enhanced by a reduced reliance on the overuse of drugs.