Keep clean and carry on mopping for healthy kids

Researchers challenge the myth that having a clean home makes your children unhealthy


Poor parents, eh? Just when you thought you could get away with not vacuuming every now and then because a bit of dirt is good for your kids, some researcher comes along and says it isn’t true. Darn, it!


A 1989 study published in the British Medical Journal claimed that children living in very clean homes were more likely to have allergies due to a lack of exposure to common microbes. The message being, put down the marigolds and let kids get a bit mucky to build up their defences.

But, after 20 years of research, microbiologists have debunked the theory, claiming the hygiene hypothesis has no supporting evidence, reports the Telegraph.

Sally Bloomfield, honorary professor at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), said, “The underlying theory that microbial exposure is crucial to regulating the immune system is right.

“But the idea that children who have fewer infections, because of more hygienic homes, are then more likely to develop asthma and other allergies does not hold up,” Sally adds.

It’s felt that the seriousness of childrens’ allergies are being overlooked. Dr Rosalind Stanwell-Smith from the LSHTM said, “Allergies and chronic inflammatory diseases are serious health issues and it’s time we recognised that simplistically talking about home and personal cleanliness as the cause of the problem is ill-advised.

“It’s diverting attention from finding workable solutions and the true, probably much more complex, causes,” Rosalind continued.

Sally will be presenting the report at the national conference of the Infection Prevention Society in Liverpool today.


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