Thursday, September 10, 2015

Worsening Children's Allergies: Is Your Dishwasher to Blame?

Hate handwashing your dishes, relying on your dishwasher to make your daily chore list a little lighter? You could be contributing to your child’s allergy and asthma symptoms, according to a recent study *published in the journal Pediatrics conducted by pediatric allergy doctors.

A dirty discovery:
In the questionnaire-based study, pediatric allergy doctors focused on 1,029 children ages 7-8. The findings: Families who utilized hand dishwashing over automatic dishwashers experienced a reduced risk of allergic symptoms such as asthma, eczema, nasal congestion, runny nose, post-nasal drip, sneezing, red eyes, and itching of the nose and eyes. Children who at more fermented or farm-fresh foods were also noted as exhibiting lower rates of allergies, with the lowest risk associate with those children whose dishes were hand washed and food was procured directly from farms.

Too much of a good thing:
According to the hygiene hypothesis, children in developing countries grow up in an overly sanitized world, their lack of exposure to even common microorganisms leading to immune system misfires. The result? Over reaction - allergies and asthma rather than a normally developed, properly functioning immune system.

Don’t scramble to the scrap yard…
Though results were deemed “interesting,” physicians at the University of California-San Francisco explained more research into lifestyle choices is necessary. Until a causal relationship is identified, pediatric allergy doctors urge patients and their families not to ditch the dishwasher yet.

* Published at 'Fewer allergies among children in dishwasher-free homes"

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