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'Too clean' homes may expose children to allergies

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
6/6/2014 (3 years ago)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Doctors say that children should be exposed to everyday bacteria to build up immunity

The news will come as a boon to parents who lack housekeeping skills. An overly clean home, may in fact, be bad for children. Doctors say that sterile environments, free of everyday bacteria could lessen a child's immune system, making them more susceptible for allergies.

Far from sucking a baby's breath, dog and cat dander may in fact be good for infants as it builds their respiratory immune systems.

Far from sucking a baby's breath, dog and cat dander may in fact be good for infants as it builds their respiratory immune systems.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
6/6/2014 (3 years ago)

Published in Health

Keywords: Allergies, infants, sterility, dander, immunity


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Medical authorities say that infants are much less likely to suffer from allergies or wheezing if they are exposed to household bacteria and allergens from rodents, roaches and cats during their first year of life.

The study came as a complete shock to researchers. Earlier studies had previously found an increased risk of asthma among inner-city dwellers exposed to high levels of roach, mouse and pet droppings and allergens.

Starvation never takes a vacation --

"What we found was somewhat surprising and somewhat contradictory to our original predictions," study co-author Dr. Robert Wood says. The chief of the Division of Allergy and Immunology at the Johns Hopkins Children's Center in Baltimore, Wood says "It turned out to be completely opposite -- the more of those three allergens you were exposed to, the less likely you were to go on to have wheezing or allergy."

It was discovered that about 41 percent of allergy-free and wheeze-free children in the study grew up in homes that were rich with allergens and bacteria. By contrast, only eight percent of children who suffered from both allergy and wheezing had been exposed to these substances in their first year of life.

The theory entitled "hygiene hypothesis" holds that children in overly clean houses are more apt to suffer allergies because their bodies don't have the opportunity to develop appropriate responses to allergens.

"The environment appears to play a role, and if you have too clean of an environment the child's immune system is not going to be stimulated," Dr. Todd Mahr, an allergist-immunologist in La Crosse, Wisconsin says. The chair of the American Academy of Pediatrics' Section on Allergy & Immunology, Mahr alluded to the fact that prior research has shown that children who grow up on farms have lower allergy and asthma rates. This is possibly explained due to their regular exposure to bacteria and microbes, the researchers noted in background material.

Childhood allergies are an ongoing problem in the United States. As many as half of all 3-year-olds in the U.S. suffer from wheezing illnesses.

Recurrent wheezing and allergies are considered a risk factor for asthma in later life. According to the American Lung Association, asthma remains one of the most common pediatric illnesses, affecting about seven million American children.

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