Want to prevent allergies in your children? Maybe skip the hand sanitizer
In keeping with what scientists have come to call the "hygiene hypothesis" Johns Hopkins University has conducted a study on antibacterial products and the development of allergies. The study links these antibacterial products with the development of allergies later in life.
According to Dr. Justin Moll, a South Carolina pediatrician interviewed by local Kansas City news source KCTV 5, children have the ability to develop an immunity to certain allergens when they are very small. But this development would only work if a child were naturally exposed to those environmental factors.
Overusing antibacterial products or otherwise trying to keep babies completely germ-free could prevent them from developing these immunities, which would make them allergic later in life. This has to do with genetics, explained Dr. Emmanuel Sarmiento of the South Carolina Allergic Disease and Asthma Center.
"If you're born genetically that you are susceptible to be allergic, if you turn the switch, no turning back. Even if you stop cleaning, there's no turning back," he told the source.
This adds substantial evidence to the "hygiene hypothesis" and suggests that parents should not go out of their way to sterilize the environment where their children live. Instead, doctors recommend allowing children to play normally and wash hands with regular soap and water before eating and bed time.
If you do have a little one with allergies, it's best to keep them in an environment with fewer irritants that will aggravate their symptoms. Remember to wash bedding in hot water to rid it of dust mites and pet dander, and make use of a whole house air purifier to increase the air quality.
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