Machine dishwashers bring convenience and consistent cleanliness in our lives, but having some germs on our dishes may prove beneficial to our health, researchers claim.
A recent study supports the so-called hygiene hypothesis which states that early exposure to a variety of microbes is good and needed to help children develop a strong immune system that will protect against allergies and other diseases.
The findings were published in the journal Pediatrics.
The study involved about 1,000 children, ages between 7 and 8, all native to Sweden. Families filled out questionnaires about history of children’s asthma, rhinoconjunctivitis and eczema.
Researchers fond that children who lived in houses where dishes were washed by hand were least likely to be exposed to diseases.
“When adjusting for covariates and confounding factors, such as lifestyle and socioeconomic factors the associations between hand dishwashing and allergic diseases remain statistically significant for eczema and total allergy, whereas a borderline significance is seen for asthma,” the authors wrote.
The study shows that children brought up in particularly sanitized environment have weaker immune system. In comparison, children who are exposed to bacteria in early stage of life have strong immune system.
Moreover, researchers observed that homes where parents hand-wash the dishes have fewer allergies as compared to the other homes. Around 38 percent children experienced allergies that use dishwashing machine. In comparison, only 23 percent of kids suffered from allergies where parents dish wash by hands
However, the study does not signify that it is essential for kids to wash dishes by hands.
“In different countries and settings, different risk factors and protective factors for asthma and allergy seem to interact, and the effect of this interaction on a specific individual depends on their genetic/epigenetic susceptibility,” the researchers write in their study. “We know, for example, that early day care attendance may protect against sensitization, but only in children without siblings.”