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Children playing with dirt may reduce allergy and asthma risk

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Babies exposed to dirt and a wide variety of household bacteria in the first year of life are less likely threatened by allergies and asthma, a new research unraveled.

Contact with bacteria and even roach allergens in the first year of life may help protect infants against future allergies and wheezing.

The study researchers followed 467 newborns for three years, monitoring them for allergies annually and testing the dust in the houses where they lived for allergens and bacteria, according to the study report published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.

They found that those babies who were exposed before their first birthday to mouse and cat dander along with cockroach droppings had lower rates of allergies and wheezing by age 3, compared to those who were growing up in a super clean environment.

“The observed result was the opposite of what we expected,” said the co-author of the study Dr. Robert Wood, chief of the division of allergy and immunology at the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center from Baltimore, US.

Wheezing was three times more among children who had less exposure to those allergens early in life.

They also emphasize that contact with bacteria and pet after age 1 not only is not beneficial but increases the risk.

“The reason may be that a lot of immune system development that leads someone down the path to allergies and asthma may be set down early in life,” wood explained.


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