Allergies, asthma & pacifier prevention


(NBC News) Many moms and dads would give anything to prevent their newborn babies from developing allergies or asthma.

 A new study suggests it may be as simple as giving infants your own germs.

 Researchers at Henry Ford Health System in Detroit surveyed parents on their pacifier cleaning practices, then measured levels of an allergy-related antibody in the babies’ bloodstream.

 Those whose mothers suck on pacifiers themselves to clean them after they were dropped had lower levels of the antibody, meaning the children may be less prone to developing asthma, eczema and allergies. 

 But experts say don’t change your cleaning methods just yet.

 “The same way that children can get good bacteria, they can also get bad bacteria,” says Dr. Eliane Abou-Jaoude.

 Pediatricians agree, but generally advise easing up on a super sterile environment for healthy babies. 

 “There are lots of commensal or good bacteria in the microbiome that may really help your baby develop a tolerance to it as they age,” notes Dr. Wendy Sue Swanson of Seattle Children’s Hospital.

 Researchers plan to follow up with the kids in four to five years to see if any allergies develop.

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