A Reason Not to Clean Your House: It Could Protect Your Kids From Asthma

A Reason Not to Clean Your House: It Could Protect Your Kids From Asthma

Put that vacuum away – it’ll let you relax, save your kids lungs and boost everyone’s immune system.

It might sound counter-intuitive but researchers say that you shouldn’t keep a clean house. Why?

Living in a somewhat dirty environment could actually be good for your kids, and prevent them from getting asthma.

It sounds backwards, but apparently it’s true. You would think that having all that dust and minute amounts of bacteria hanging around would cause trouble but researchers have found the opposite.

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The Benefits of Dust

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Here’s how it works: asthma occurs in people when the immune system over reacts, and doesn’t respond properly to harmful allergens like pollen and dust mites.

When young, developing immune systems and lungs are exposed to dust and dirty dangers, they learn to react well. Researchers from the University of Liege in Belgium discovered that when mice are exposed to bacterial DNA, their lungs react by drastically increasing the population of something called “pulmonary macrophages”.

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This is great because these small things are strongly immunosuppressive. They can actually prevent asthma from developing in mice. And frankly, anything that adds up to less weekly vacuuming and dusting in the name of good health is always welcome in this house.

Related: These ‘Bad Habits’ Could Protect You From Allergies

Non-Asthmatic Amish

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But is this simply the work of a few lazy researchers who kind of just like dirt? Probably not-the research doesn’t stand alone and is in line with past discoveries.

Interestingly, scientists have found that Amish children who generally grow up on rural farms, have extremely low rates of asthma when compared with the rest of the population in the U.S.

This isn’t to say that Amish communities never clean house, but it seems that their kids are exposed on a daily basis to bacteria that’s naturally present in a traditional farm environment, and this has benefited them big time.

Can we all drop our day jobs and go live in a fantastic traditional, rural community? A few weeks away from an iPhone and computers might sound nice. It isn’t likely that most of us are going to do an overhaul of our lives, though.

Related: Top 5 Things You Should Know About Asthma

Treatment

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What will likely change is the treatment for current asthma sufferers.

The scientists in Belgium are hoping that the next step is to use their discoveries to treat asthma with injections. Reports indicate that they envision “making” the macrophages with similar properties in a lab and injecting them into the lungs of asthmatic patients, to increase their ability to handle allergens.

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Since about 1 in 12 people, or 25 million individuals in the U.S currently suffer from asthma, and about 300 million people worldwide this could have widespread benefits. Until it comes, put down that spray bottle and toss the rags in the closet and make the dust mites your friends.

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