Dr. Morice and his tubal reversal patients love protecting their babies. Tubal ligation reversal patients are careful to ensure their baby’s environment is as close to perfect as can be. Some moms will even admit to getting a little too germaphobic in those first few years of life. Previous research has shown, however, that an environment that’s too clean may increase a child’s risk of allergies.
One study in 2012 found that children raised on northern Indiana farms had a much lower rate of allergies compared with the rest of the county. This showed that the microorganisms and allergens found on farms and their animals were beneficial to a child’s immunity. Unfortunately, we can’t all move our children to small farms to build up their immunity. A new study honed in on this idea to define other allergens that can help build up immunity.
A recent study, published in Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, reveals that exposure to certain allergens within the first year of life helps shape a child’s immunity and decreases the risk of asthma or allergies. Exposure after one year, however, does not provide the same benefit. Therefore it’s important to expose your child to allergens while he or she can still reap the positive benefits.
The study followed more than 450 newborns living in urban neighborhoods including New York, Boston, and St. Louis for three years. The newborns’ homes were initially evaluated to record how many allergens were present. Researchers also collected dirt and dust samples from about 100 homes to evaluate the richness of bacteria in the household. The children were then monitored for allergy and wheezing development.
The allergens the researchers looked for were mouse and cat dander and roach droppings. No, this is definitely not the prettiest picture to paint of your newborns’ environment. But children living in houses with these allergens during their first year were less likely to have allergies or wheezing at 3 years of age. Wheezing typically develops into asthma, one of the most common pediatric illnesses. Children raised in households with a rich variety of bacteria showed even less instances of allergies or wheezing.
Overall, 92% of children that had both allergies and wheezing at age 3 had grown up in an environment without any of these substances. 41% of children without allergies or asthma grew up in homes with the allergens and bacteria.
The researchers also noted that the allergens were additive. This means that children exposed to all 3 were more protected than those exposed to just 1. Also, as noted before, exposure after 1 year without prior exposure did not decrease the risk of allergies or wheezing.
While we don’t suggest sprinkling pet dander around your tubal ligation reversal baby’s crib, it is important to see that exposure to some things can help your baby in the long run. Raising a child in a bleached and completely dirt-free environment appears to do more harm than good. A little dirt may not hurt, after all.
Dr. Morice is a tubal reversal doctor at his very own Atchafalaya Gynecology and Obstetrics in Morgan City, LA. He specializes in tubal ligation reversal surgery and helping his patients deliver healthy babies. Call us at (985) 702-BABY for a free tubal reversal consultation.