Germ-free pacifiers may mean sicker kids

Germ-free pacifiers may mean sicker kids

June 24th, 2013 by The Tennessean in Local - Breaking News

A baby lies in a crib at Erlanger hospital.

Photo by Angela Lewis/Times Free Press.

Years ago, when my children (now teenagers) were babies and they dropped a pacifier on the floor, we rinsed it with tap water before putting it back in their mouth.

As a parent and as an infectious disease doctor, sterility is of utmost importance to me. While this may be lifesaving in the hospital, it may not be the best practice at home, according to a recent study in the journal Pediatrics.

A group of Swedish scientists found that if parents cleaned their child's pacifier by sucking on it before placing it back in the child's mouth, the child was significantly less likely to have allergies at 18 and 36 months.

Children of pacifier-sucking parents (I guess we can call them that) had nearly 60 percent less eczema and 90 percent less asthma by 18 months compared to parents who used tap or boiling water.

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