The study, conducted by Dr. Bill Hesselmar of Gothenburg's Queen Silvia Children's Hospital, demonstrated a link between hand-washing dishes and fewer allergies. Only 23% of children surveyed whose parents hand-washed dishes had a history of eczema, whereas 38% of children whose families used a dishwasher had shown eczema symptoms. In households where children had eaten fermented food or food bought straight from farms, eczema was even less prevalent.
Dr. Hesselmar noted that there are a few things we should consider whilst looking at the study results. Dishwashers are a luxury item and therefore there could be associated lifestyle factors to consider in the results. Overcrowded housing and low socioeconomic status also both correlate with the presence of fewer allergies.
Interestingly, the study showed no link between hand-washing dishes and allergy-like conditions other than eczema (for example asthma).
The allergy 'epidemic'
In the modern home, we're surrounded by so many anti-bacterial products and many of us are almost obsessive when it comes to cleaning! Food preparation both at home and when eating at restaurants is more hygienic than it has ever been. Vaccines and antibiotics, although essential, may be contributing to the allergy 'epidemic', due to our weakened immune systems.
Do you think that over-cleaning is partly to blame for the prevalence of allergies? Let us know your thoughts!