Children Have Fewer Allergies if….

… do the dishes by hand.

Well, we didn’t say you were going to like it.

Researchers in Sweden found that children living in families that hand-washed their dishes were about 40 percent less likely to develop allergies compared with kids in homes that used a dishwasher, said study researcher Dr. Bill Hesselmar, an allergist at the University of Gothenburg Department of Pediatrics.

The researchers said they suspect that hand-washing dishes doesn’t get them as clean as the dishwasher does, which is actually a good thing because it can help protect against allergies by exposing family members to more bacteria.

Under an idea known as the “hygiene hypothesis,” some health researchers think that increased exposure to microbes during early life may stimulate children’s immune systems, and that this stimulation may help reduce the risk that a child will develop allergies, the researchers wrote in their study, published online in the journal Pediatrics.

Although Hesselmar said the new findings were an “interesting observation,” he said it is too soon to recommend hand-washing dishes as an allergy-prevention strategy.

In previous studies, living on a farm during early life, having many older siblings, growing up in developing countries and being born by vaginal delivery have all been linked with fewer allergies in children. But in the new study, the researchers wanted to investigate the factors in people’s current daily lives that might have an impact on rising rates of childhood allergies.

Two physicians at the University of California, San Francisco who wrote a commentary accompanying the study, said the results are interesting but that it’s too soon to put them into practical use.

The commentary concluded that more research is needed to understand how different lifestyle choices, such as dishwasher usage and microbial exposure in children, may influence allergic disease and prevention strategies.

This article was taken in part from Live Science. To read the full article click here

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