Tuesday 15 October 2019

Keeping your home too clean 'won't cause allergies in children'

Stock picture
Stock picture

Jane Kirby

Public health officials are calling for an end to the myth that being "too clean" in the home is bad for health.

A new report from the Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) says adults and children should get outside to play with family, friends and pets to build healthy immunity, but this should not get in the way of good hygiene in the home.

Experts said people should worry less about cleaning floors, walls and furniture, and concentrate more on surfaces, food preparation, washing dishcloths and putting bedding and towels on a 60C wash. Such measures can cut the risk of spreading infections such as listeria, E.coli or norovirus and add up to a "targeted hygiene" approach.

The new RSPH report aims to tackle the idea that being "too clean" is bad for health and causes allergies in children. It said the "hygiene hypothesis" popular in the late 1980s, which suggested rising rates of allergies had an underlying cause of "overcleanliness" and called for children to be exposed to a wide range of potentially harmful microbes, has been scientifically refuted.

Lifestyle habits, such as keeping children indoors and an increasing use of antibiotics, are more to blame than cleanliness for keeping children from getting the exposure they need, it added.

Irish Independent

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