Study: Home That’s Too Clean Could Leave Newborn Vulnerable To Asthma, Allergies

Atlanta, Ga. (CBS Atlanta) — You may want to think twice before breaking out the ole’ duster.

In a recent study out of Johns Hopkins Children’s Center in Baltimore, keeping your home too clean may lead to asthma and allergy complications later in life for children.

In the study published June 6 in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, researchers found that infants are far less likely to suffer from asthma or allergies later in life if they are exposed to household germs and bacteria as well as allergens from rodents, roaches, and cats in their first year of life, according to HealthDay.

Dr. Robert Wood, co-author of the study and chief of the Division of Allergy and Immunology at the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center, looked at 467 newborns in inner-city communities across Baltimore, Boston, New York City, and St. Louis and tracked their health from the womb, to birth, and through the years.

Wood found that about 41 percent of children in the study without allergies grew up in households rich in allergens and bacteria.

However, the results from this study seem to contradict some prior research which reported that inner-city dwellers had higher levels of asthma after early exposure to rodent and animal droppings and allergens.

“What we found was somewhat surprising and somewhat contradictory to our original predictions,” Wood told HealthDay. “It turned out to be completely opposite — the more of those three allergens you were exposed to, the less likely you were to go on to have wheezing or allergy.”

Despite this contradiction, the recent study does corroborate the “hygiene hypothesis,” which posits that children raised in overly clean households are more susceptible to developing allergies because their bodies do not develop the necessary responses to everyday allergens.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 14 percent of children have been diagnosed with asthma in the U.S, while another 11 percent suffer from respiratory allergies.

This study comes on the heels of experts saying that taking a shower everyday or taking long hot baths may not be as healthy for you as once believed.

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