Sucking your baby’s dummy could help ward off allergies

Henrietta Strickland
November 18, 2018

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

The same suppression was not seen in children whose mothers reported cleaning pacifiers by other methods.

The study was funded by Henry Ford Health System and will be presented at the meeting of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology in Seattle.

Since they only tracked the babies for 18 months, they have no way of knowing if their antibody levels continue to be lower into early childhood and beyond.

The study involved 128 mothers of infants multiple times over a period of 18 months and asked how they cleaned their child's pacifier.

Only a small percentage of moms sucked on the pacifiers to clean them - but the babies of those who did had lower levels of IgE when doctors tested their blood after 10 months, according to the site.

"It's possible that sucking on a pacifier is correlated with other, more important factors that predispose or protect against allergens", he said, adding that mothers who suck on their children's pacifiers could also "let their kids play in the dirt, or their whole house could be less clean".

Those who have high levels of the antibody tend to have an increased risk of both allergies and allergic asthma.

According to new US research being presented at the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI), the children of mothers who sucked on their pacifiers in order to clean them had a lower allergic response than children whose mothers cleaned the soothers either by sterilization or hand washing.

"Although we can't say there's a cause and effect relationship, we can say the microbes a child is exposed to early on in life will affect their immune system development", said Eliane Abou-Jaoude, the study's lead author.

In the latter study were 128 mothers used various techniques to clean the nipples that the baby had dropped on the floor: sterilized in boiling water or the dishwasher, washed with soap and water, you sucked on her.

Dr Abou-Jaoude said that while it indicated an association between parental pacifier sucking and children with lower IgE levels, it does not necessarily mean the practice itself causes the lower levels.

If the thought of putting a dirty soother in your mouth revolts you, there are other scientifically proven, but less disgusting ways to prevent allergies.

Studies have shown that "kids introduced to peanuts in the first year of life have a much lower chance of developing a peanut allergy", he said, and the American Academy of Pediatrics agrees.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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