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Childhood immunity does not have to be compromised by being clean and sanitary


According to a recent study by experts at UCL and the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, the assumption that contemporary society is overly clean, leading to faulty immune systems in infants, should be dismissed.

The ‘hygiene theory,’ as it is known in medicine, claims that early childhood contact to certain microbes protects against allergy disorders by aiding immune system development.

However, there is a widespread belief (public narrative) that Western 21st-century civilization is too clean, which implies babies and children are less likely to be exposed to germs early in life and hence develop allergy resistance.

Researchers refer to four important factors in this report published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology that they claim refute this idea and conclude that we are not “too clean for our own good.”

Emeritus Professor of Medical Microbiology Graham Rook (UCL Infection & Immunity), the study’s lead author, said: “Early exposure to microbes is critical for the immune and metabolic systems’ ‘education.’

“Beneficial microorganisms that live in our stomachs, skin, and airways serve a crucial part in preserving our health far into old age, therefore we need to be exposed to them throughout our lives, mostly through our moms, other family members, and the natural environment.

“However, there has been a public narrative for more than 20 years that hand and home cleanliness measures, which are critical for preventing disease-causing bacteria, are also preventing beneficial organisms from being exposed.

“In this study, we set out to resolve the seeming tension between the requirement for microbial inputs to fill our intestines and build up our immunological and metabolic systems, and the need for cleaning and hygiene to keep us free of infections.”

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The researchers cite four aspects in their evidence evaluation.

To begin with, the microorganisms prevalent in contemporary homes are, to a large extent, not the ones that humans need for immunity.

Second, vaccinations not only protect us against the diseases they are designed to prevent, but they also boost our immune systems, so we no longer need to risk mortality by being exposed to viruses.

Finally, we now have actual proof that the microorganisms found in the natural green environment are especially beneficial to our health; household cleaning and cleanliness have no influence on our exposure to the natural environment.

Finally, new research shows that when epidemiologists discover a link between cleaning the house and health problems like allergies, it’s usually not because of the removal of organisms, but rather because of lungs exposure to cleaning products that cause damage that encourages the development of allergic responses.

Professor Rook said, ” “Cleaning the house is excellent, and personal cleanliness is good, but to prevent the spread of illness, it has to be focused to the hands and surfaces that are most often implicated in infection transmission, as indicated in the study. We prevent direct exposure of youngsters to cleaning chemicals by focusing our cleaning techniques.

“All of the microbial inputs we need may be obtained through our moms, family members, the natural environment, and immunizations. These exposures are not incompatible with judicious hygiene or cleaning.”

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