Allergies in Babies: Parents' Saliva Can Ward Them Off
By Athena Yenko | May 7, 2013 2:44 PM EST
The parents around the world were shocked by reports on Johnson and Johnson's license being revoked on the account of its baby powder containing carcinogenic chemicals.
Parents were shaken to have had trust a 'trusted' product only to discover that they are putting their babies' lives in danger. The news was something unexpected especially with parents who are careful on what to use and what not to use for their babies.
Who would have thought that an 'innocent' product like a baby powder would be a threat in such surprising manner?
Ironically, something as 'nasty' as parents' own saliva is proven to pose more positive effects on babies contradictory to what all parents thinks, NPR reports.
A new study published from the journal Pediatrics say that those babies who have parents cleaning their pacifiers by sucking them have lesser tendencies to accumulate allergies such as eczema and asthma.
The parents' saliva changes a babies' microbiome which makes babies fight allergic reactions. Microbiome is the collection of bacteria that live in our bodies.
In order to conduct the study, Bill Hesselmar of the University of Gothenburg asked parents who participated in the study "What they did when their child's pacifier fell out of his or her mouth? If they rinsed them in water?"
According to Hesselmar most of the parents said that of course they rinse the pacifier with water but a lot of the parents did a rather unusual way - "They put it (pacifier) in their mouths, sucked on it and then gave it back to the children."
Hesselmar and his team of researchers observed that there was a remarkable difference between babies whose parents suck on their pacifiers between those parents who rinse it with water - Those whose parents sucked the pacifiers clean were significantly less likely to have developed eczema at 18 and 36 months and less likely to have developed asthma at 18 months.
Hesselmar explains that "Eczema is the best disease to choose (as a marker) if you want to see if a young child is becoming allergic."
Hesselmar's group of scientists believes that when a parent sucks his or her baby's pacifier to clean it, the parent is transmitting friendly bacteria into the mouth of the baby.
"We think that these bacteria... stimulate the immune system and that it teaches it how to do its job properly, which includes not overreacting to things like peanuts, pollen and cats," the scientists explains.
Elizabeth Matsui from the Johns Hopkins Children's Center commends the study:"This is a really interesting and intriguing observation. The findings add credence to a growing body of evidence that suggests that exposure, or the lack of exposure, to microbes early in life can affect a child's health by influencing his or her microbiome."
Matsui makes an intelligent opinion that babies at present may be growing up too clean.
"We are much less likely to be exposed to organisms in water - parasites, for example - so the idea is there is much less for the immune system to fight off. So it starts reacting to things that perhaps it should be ignoring," added Matsui.
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