Children at risk from too unnecessarily clean houses

Keeping a home unnecessarily clean, as many middle class parents are now doing – increases the risk of their children developing potentially fatal peanut allergies. Over the last two decades, the number of children in the United Kingdom who suffer from such a condition is believed to have doubled, as parents continue to wrongly believe that an excessively clean health is the best way to keep children healthy and free from allergies.

This notably sharp increase is most obvious in reference to children from wealthy middle-class families, who appear to keep their homes excessively dirt-free. According to scientists, the findings support a widely held belief that allowing many germs to become alien to a child’s developing immune system leaves them more vulnerable to those germs.

When a child does then come into contact with new irritants – which can include nuts and other harmless foods – they are more likely to suffer an allergic reaction. The findings which support this idea were presented at the annual meeting of the ACAAI (the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology), following a study of 776 suffers from peanut allergies, of a total of 8,306 patients.

Allergist Dr. Sandy Lip, the lead author on the study, expressed that it was in ‘children aged one to nine’ where the relationship between household wealth and sanitation was most dramatic. Lip added that this might suggest that in those developed beyond this age range, the relationship would be far less dramatic.

Peanut allergies generally, however, are quite uncommon. A study conducted by researchers at Maastricht and Edinburgh universities found that approximately 25,000 people in England have, at some point in their lives, been diagnosed with a peanut allergy. The study looked at records from over 400 GP practices, compiled over a four year period from 2001 to 2005.


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