New research has contradicted the popular modern theory that living in a very clean home can lead to the development of asthma and other allergic conditions.
Known as the ‘hygiene hypothesis’, the theory states that if children are not exposed to common microbes in the home environment, then their immune systems do not develop as they should and could contribute to the development of asthma and allergies.
A new study, presented in the UK today, at the national conference of the Infection Prevention Society, reviewed more than 20 years of research on the topic to assess the theory.
The results showed that the hygiene hypothesis is not supported by the evidence. Co-author, Sally Bloomfield, said: “The underlying theory that microbial exposure is crucial to regulating the immune system is right. But the idea that children who have fewer infections, because of more hygienic homes, are then more likely to develop asthma and other allergies does not hold up.”