BEACON TRANSCRIPT – Experts have recently made a connection between kids who suck their thumb or bite the nails and allergy occurrence. If your kid has one of these annoying habits, you’ll be relieved to hear that a new study suggests there may be a health benefit linked to them.
Researchers have found that children who bite their nails or suck their thumb past preschool could be less exposed to allergic reactions into their teenage years. The study found that these effects might last into adult life.
Dr. Robert Hancox, the lead researcher, said that this doesn’t mean encouraging kids to take up these habits. This is because thumb sucking could impend the alignment of teeth. However, if a kid has a deep-rooted habit, parents could find consolation in the fact that the risk of allergies could be reduced.
Here is an explanation for the link between allergy risk and nail biting or thumb sucking: The theory is that exposure to small doses of microbes and bacteria in early life, helps the immune system to improve itself, and away from a tendency to get allergies.
Sometimes, children in daycare, who live on farms, with pets, or have older siblings are exposed to higher levels of germs. Paradoxically, in small doses, these germs provide some sort of protection from allergies.
Apparently, sterile environments are not actually ideal for us. Parents should not allow their kids to “roll around in dirt”, but they could loosen up about cleanliness, study authors believe.
Moreover, children who have these two habits are less likely to suffer from allergies to dust, dogs, mites, grass, pollen, and others. The findings support the “hygiene theory” which says that exposure to small doses of dirt and germs makes for a stronger immune system.
Experts don’t recommend lack of hygiene, but what they do encourage is not overdoing it. Children who are brought up only in aseptic environments apparently have more chances for developing immune system induced skin reactions like asthma, eczema, and allergies.
All in all, scientists believe a little exposure to germs may be beneficial for the future of your child. What’s your opinion on this matter? Would you allow your child to get a bit dirty from time to time, knowing the potential health benefits?