Old people, don't be afraid to suck.
That's a suggestion from new research that, though unpleasant – maybe literally, depends on where the dot is dropped – can protect babies from developing allergies.
The findings were presented at the annual meeting of the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology, which was held until November 19 in Seattle.
Does it sound dirty?
Maybe. But mothers who clean the pacifier by sucking they have babies with a lower allergic response, according to research from Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit.
Video: The main researcher discussed the findings
The study interviewed 128 mothers over a period of 18 months and asked how they cleaned their baby pacifiers. Of the 74 babies who used one of them, 72 percent said they washed by hand, 41 percent said they were sterilized and 12 percent said they spewed babies.
Scientists found that babies whose mothers spewed pacifiers had lower levels of IgE, an antibody associated with an allergic response. Increased IgE levels usually indicate a higher risk allergy and allergic asthma.
"We found that sucking dot parents was associated with suppressed IgE levels starting at about 10 months, and continuing for up to 18 months," said Dr. Edward Zoratti, an allergist and study co-author. "Further research is needed, but we believe the effect may be due to the transfer of microbes that promote health from the mouths of parents."
Did you follow that? Spreading germs from the mouth of parents turns out to improve the child's immune system.
This study does not prove cause and effect, and it is not clear whether lower IgE production seen among these children continued into the following years.
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