Want to ward off allergies Pick food up off the floor says scientist who claims our obsession with cleanliness has weakened our immune systems

Picking food up off the floor, keeping a dog and regularly kissing your relatives are some of the best ways to ward off allergies, according to a leading immunologist.

Professor Graham Rook also advised that when a baby spits out its dummy, mums should just lick it clean and put it straight back in their mouth.

Modern society has become so obsessed with cleanliness that we no longer come into contact with some of the crucial bugs that keep our immune systems working well, he said.

Just eat it: Modern society has become so obsessed with cleanliness that we no longer come into contact with some of the crucial bugs that keep our immune systems working well, a scientist said

It means that when the body meets a substance it does not know, a ‘trigger happy’ immune system will over-react, attacking the body in the process.

Professor Rook, speaking at the Cheltenham Science Festival last night, said the issue was a ‘generational problem’, with children in Britain and other Western nations more susceptible to allergies than older people.

Professor Rook, a professor in medical microbiology and immunology at University College London, said a simple way to keep the immune system working well is to pass germs between family members. That includes not rushing to sterilise a dummy when a baby spits it out.

Professor Rook said: ‘If a parent picks up the dummy right away and sterilises it or replaces it with a new clean one, that child has a considerably greater chance of having eczema and asthma.

‘But if you are the sort of parent that sucks it clean and it sticks it back in the baby’s mouth, then it actually protects them from allergic disorders.

‘It’s because they have better bacterial development in the mouth and gut. And this is what protects them.’

Conditions such as asthma, hay fever and food intolerances are on the rise.

Hospital admissions for allergic reactions jumped by 8 per cent last year, following a steady increase over the past three decades.

Data from the Health and Social Care Information Centre published this week shows there were 20,320 admissions in 2012/13 compared to 18,860 in the previous 12 months.

Courtesy: DailyMail


Tags: Allergies, Food, Obession, Immune System