February 22, 2024

Dirty babies are better protected against allergies – Trends Vrends

Exposure to cat dander, a variety of household bacteria, and even exposure to rodent and cockroach allergens can protect infants from future allergies and wheezing.

This is the conclusion of a new study that surprises and argues that the baby’s contact with bacteria should be as early as possible, since after the first year of life this no longer had a protective effect and actually increased the risk.

For decades, parents have tried to “protect” their babies from bacteria and other potential triggers of disease, allergies and asthma.

Now comes the new study to debunk all of that.

“It was the opposite of what we expected. “We’re not unequivocally advocating that we should bring rodents and roaches into the home, but the data from our study shows that a too-clean home isn’t always good for a baby,” says Dr. Robert Wood, chief of the Department of Allergy and Allergy Immunology at Johns Hopkins University and co-author of the study, the results of which are published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.

The new findings may explain some of the contradictions in research on the so-called hygiene hypothesis, which shows that children raised in extremely clean environments are more likely to develop allergies.

The hygiene hypothesis arose when researchers found that children who lived on farms were less likely to develop allergies. The researchers then suggested that a dirtier environment might offer more protection. This hypothesis seemed to explain why developed countries had high rates of allergy and asthma.

“The theory is that as our environment is cleaned up, our immune system is no longer focused on fighting bacteria and parasites. Then it has nothing left to do and starts reacting to things that aren’t normally harmful, like dust mites, cat dander or peanuts,” says Dr. Maria Garcia Lloret, Assistant Professor of Child Allergy and Immunology at the University of California. Los Angeles Mattel Children’s Hospital.

It is therefore important to be exposed to the bacteria at the right time, the researchers argue.

Wood and his colleagues tracked 467 newborns for about three years by annually monitoring their allergies and examining the dust in the homes they lived in for allergens and bacteria. To the researchers’ surprise, children exposed to mice, cat dander and cockroach feces before their first birthday were less likely to exhibit allergies and wheezing than three-year-olds, compared to children who were not exposed to allergens early.

In fact, wheezing was up to three times more common in children who were exposed to fewer allergens very early in life. The protective effect of early allergen exposure was enhanced when a variety of bacteria were also present in the home.

This may be because “much of the immune system development that can lead to allergies and asthma is regulated almost immediately after the newborn is born,” argues Wood.

The researchers aren’t ready to translate the new findings into practical advice for parents. However, they concluded that “strict avoidance of allergens initially offers no protection, but early exposure in the right context can mean the difference between illness and tolerance.” “You could say that’s the downside of cleanliness,” write in your report.

According to experts, the new findings provide important information on the subject of pets and newborns.

“Twenty years ago we would have told parents to get cats and dogs out of the house when they had a baby. “Today, through our study, we see that the earlier a family with a newborn gets a pet, the better off it is,” concludes Wood.