The Dirty Trick to Prevent Allergies And Asthma

ByAnisa Arsenault
Associate Editor
Updated
Feb 2017
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Exposing your newborn to a few key elements could decrease her chances of asthma, wheezing and allergies later in life. Ready for the list?

  • Cat dander
  • Cockroach droppings
  • Mice
  • …and other fun bacteria and allergens!

Still with us? Scientists at the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center surveyed 467 inner-city newborns over the course of three years, and found that the greater variety of bacteria present in the home, the higher the rate of allergy-free kids. They found that 41 percent of allergy-free and wheeze-free children grew up in dirtier homes. What about kids who do have allergies or asthma? Only 8 percent were exposed to these allergens and bacteria as during their first year of life.

That’s the caveat, though — in their first year of life. So don’t go hang out on your local subway platform just yet. Babies’ immune systems are especially shaped over the course of year one, and exposure to bacteria and certain allergens helps build tolerance, creating a protective effect. But if they haven’t been introduced by baby’s first birthday, then dirt and germs are just dirt and germs.

We’re not encouraging dirty lifestyles, but just remember there’s no need to bleach every surface twice a day. Your baby will be tougher because of it.

Do you keep the house squeaky clean for baby?

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