Parents Who Lick Kids' Pacifiers Thwart Allergies

Exposure to harmless bacteria may help ward off allergies
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted May 6, 2013 8:22 AM CDT
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(Newser) – If your child's pacifier falls on the floor, a new study suggests you're doing the kid a disservice by rinsing it off in the sink. Instead, you might just want to pop it in your own mouth before giving it back to Junior. Parents who did that saw their kids have a significantly lower risk of allergy-related conditions including eczema and asthma, according to the Swedish study, which was published in this week's Pediatrics.

Researchers stumbled on the correlation during a broader look into babies' allergies, NPR explains. Researchers hypothesize that doing so transfers harmless bacteria from the parent's mouth to the child's, which gives the baby's immune system a workout. Without those practice organisms "there is much less for the immune system to fight off," one pediatrician not involved in the research explains. "So it starts reacting to things that perhaps it should be ignoring." (Read more pediatrics stories.)

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