Latest

'Hygiene hypothesis' busted?

In Latest

Cleanliness is not a threat to children’s immune systems or the reason behind rising allergies across the globe, scientists at University College London (UCL) have argued.

The research, published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, further debunks the ‘hygiene hypothesis’, which suggests human immune systems are being compromised by sterile surroundings and that it is better to be exposed to bacteria so that, children especially, can build up immune defences.

The team highlighted four significant reasons that debunk the theory:

  1. Micro-organisms found in the modern home are typically not ones that are needed for immunity
  2. Vaccines protect from infection but also strengthen immune systems, reducing the risk of death through exposure to pathogens
  3. Micro-organisms of natural green environments are important for health, and domestic cleaning and hygiene have no impact on exposure to the natural environment
  4. Associations found between cleaning the home and health problems, including allergies, are not linked to the removal of organisms but the lungs being exposed to cleaning products that can cause damage that in turn leads to allergic responses.

“This idea that we are too clean for our own good has been causing chaos, and people are taking it too seriously,” said Professor Graham Rook, professor of medical microbiology at UCL. “Cleaning the home is good, and personal cleanliness is good, but… to prevent spread of infection it needs to be targeted to hands and surfaces most often involved in infection transmission. By targeting our cleaning practices, we also limit direct exposure of children to cleaning agents.”

“Exposure to our mothers, family members, the natural environment and vaccines can provide all the microbial inputs that we need,” he added. “These exposures are not in conflict with intelligently targeted hygiene or cleaning.”

Read more on tackling misconceptions about hygiene here.

Record my learning outcomes

Latest

Inspiring stories related to health, fitness and the pursuit of wellbeing

Share:

More like this

bookmark_icon_off
Latest

PDAU signs agreement to represent pharmacists in NI GP federations

PDAU negotiate pay, leave, pensions and other issues for more than 300 pharmacists who work for GP federations

 

1 Min Article

bookmark_icon_off
Latest

Gender imbalance in Covid-19 deaths

Three quarters of those who die in critical care with Covid-19 are men, according to the latest figures from the ICNARC.

1 Min Article

bookmark_icon_off
Latest

MHRA could reclassify contraceptive pill

Pharmacists could be able to sell the contraceptive pill after MHRA consultation on reclassification. 

1 Min Article

bookmark_icon_off
Latest

Kar-go delivery bot begins delivery trials from Hounslow pharmacy

The autonomous vehicle is the first such vehicle to travel on roads in the UK.

1 Min Article

bookmark_icon_off
Latest

Print health warnings on every cigarette, say Scottish researchers

Printing Health warnings on individual cigarettes could help reduce smoking, suggests research.

1 Min Article

bookmark_icon_off
Latest

GPhC to 'blind' FtP hearings to avoid racial bias

The GPhC will trial a system aimed at ensuring its regulation is fair and unhindered by unconscious bias.

1 Min Article

Recommended Learning

bookmark_icon_off
Sponsored education

Challenge your thinking on warts and verrucas

Discover different treatment options for warts and verruas and when to recommend them to your customers, based on their individual needs

17 Min Module

Sponsored education

The person behind the patient

This interactive video will introduce three patients with erection problems (EPs) and ask you to work out what the causes might be and how you can help.

4 Min Module

bookmark_icon_off
Sponsored education

Fungal Nail Roundup

Complete this short interactive module to refresh your knowledge on identifying and treating fungal nail infections, and discover more about a product you can recommend to customers.

5 Min Module

bookmark_icon_off
Sponsored education

Managing fever in children

Get to grips with the current guidance on managing fever in children and how antipyretics can help, and discover products you can recommend.

10 Min Module

Sponsored education

Treating fungal nail infections

Understand how fungal nail infections develop and help manage customer expectations around treatment

10 Min Module

bookmark_icon_off
Videos

Treating acid reflux and heartburn in the pharmacy

Understand how omeprazole 20mg works to treat heartburn and acid reflux symptoms

2 Min Module