Cleaning Your Baby Doll by Sucking it, Preventing Allergies, Suggestions for New Research


It's the scene of parents and caregivers all too familiar with: baby dolls falling to the floor. When this happened with my first birth, I rushed to clean the dirty soother by boiling it in water or carefully washing it in the sink. But by the time my second child was born, I was much more relaxed, and I started doing something that some parents might find rather disgusting – I suck my child's doll to clean it.

I didn't realize it at the time, but as new research shows, I might actually have done my child's immune system.

Mothers who clean soothers by sucking have babies with lower allergic responses, according to new research conducted by scientists from Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit. The lead author of the new study, allergist Eliane Abou-Jaoude, will present the findings of his team at the annual meeting of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI), held in Seattle this week.

"We interviewed 128 mothers from babies several times over an 18-month period and asked how they cleaned their children [dummy], "Abou-Jaoude said in a statement. Of the 58 percent of mothers whose children used soothers, 41 percent said they cleaned them through sterilization (eg boiling dolls in water), 72 percent said they washed them by hand, and 12 percent of mothers said they cleaned their baby doll by sucking it.

The researchers found that children of mothers who sucked suckers had lower levels of antibodies called immunoglobulin E, or IgE. These antibodies are related to allergic responses in the body, said Abou-Jaoude. With a few exceptions, higher levels of IgE levels indicate a higher risk of allergic allergies and asthma.

The reduction in IgE levels, and thus the protective effect against allergies, starts around 10 months, and the effect continues for up to 18 months. More research is needed to understand what happened, but Abou-Jaoude suspects that mothers transfer microbes that promote health to their children. The researchers also wanted to know whether the lower IgE production seen in these children continued into the following years.

Cleaning the liquid by sucking it can help prevent allergies is not really surprising. Research published in 2016 shows that Amish children are less susceptible to allergies, a possible consequence of their exposure to various types of microbes. Likewise, children who bite their nails and suck their thumbs experience fewer allergies.

These findings add further credence to the "hygiene hypothesis" – the idea that the increasing rates of autoimmune and allergic diseases seen throughout the world are related to the (relatively) obsessed society's obsession with cleanliness. Dirt and dirt, it can be said, might really do good for our children.

"We know that exposure to certain microorganisms early in life stimulates the development of the immune system and can protect against allergic diseases later," Abou-Jaoude said. "Parents [dummy] sucking can be an example of how parents transfer healthy microorganisms to their children. "

Importantly, the new study shows an association between parents who suck their children's dolls and children with lower levels of IgE – but that does not prove that doll suckers cause lower IgE. Correlation, as we know, does not always imply causation. Another thing to keep in mind is that this research is based on parents' self-reporting. According to new research, only 12 percent of mothers said they used a sucking technique to clean dolls.

The actual number can be higher than that, if some mothers don't want to admit it. Can also be lower. Regardless, this uncertainty can affect results.

And finally, this study does not speak of the risks associated with dirty cleaning, potentially germs soothers by sucking it. Taking soother from the shopping center or airport floor, and then cleaning it by sucking, can put parents and children at risk of contracting an infectious disease. This new study, while offering some important new insights into the factors that influence a child's allergic response, does not have to always be considered practical support.


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