Did you know that washing your dishes by hand may help to reduce your children’s chances of developing allergic conditions like asthma and eczema?
According to a new study by researchers at Queen Silvia Children’s Hospital in Gothenburg, Sweden, there is a correlation between homes that use dishwashers and the development of allergic conditions among children in these households. The findings are linked to the “hygiene hypothesis”, which suggests that early exposure to various microbes may lead to more effective functioning of the immune system – which helps to prevent individuals from developing allergies.
The lead author is Dr. Bill Hesselmar, an Associate Professor of Allergy at Queen Sylvia. His research finds that washing dishes by hand provides this early microbial exposure and helps to prevent the development of particular allergies.
As part of the study, the research team interviewed the parents of over 1000 children between the ages of 7- and 8-years-old. Among the questions asked were:
How do you clean your dishes?
How often do you eat fermented foods?
How often do you eat foods directly from a farm?
12% of the families interviewed washed their dishes by hand. The research team found that these families had half the risk of developing allergic conditions when compared with families that use dishwashing machines.
While there are certainly other factors at work, these findings offer interesting insight into the development of allergies. As such, families with small children may want to use their dishwashers less often in order to help prevent the development of conditions like asthma and eczema.