Sucking your baby’s pacifier might protect them from allergies

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A surprising new study delved into why children form food allergies, and whether parents can do anything to prevent these annoying and sometimes deadly conditions.

Of the 128 moms finishing various meetings, 58 percent announced current pacifier use by their child.

Dr. Edward Zoratti, a co-author of the study and an allergist-immunologist at Henry Ford Health System, said the suppressed levels of IgE were evident in the babies at around 10 months of age until they were 18 months old.

Since they only tracked the babies for 18 months, they have no way of knowing if their antibody levels continue to be lower into early childhood and beyond. The researchers checked the babies' IgE levels at birth, 6 months and 18 months of age.

However, Abou-Jaoude cautions parents from concluding that sucking on their baby's pacifier to clean it will lower their child's risk of developing allergies. At that time, researchers in Sweden also concluded the "parental sucking of their infant's pacifier may reduce the risk of allergy development, possibly via immune stimulation by microbes transferred to the infant via the parent's saliva".

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"Further research is needed, but we believe the effect may be due to the transfer of health-promoting microbes from the parent's mouth", he said.

A Henry Ford Health System study found that babies whose parents sucked on their pacifier to clean it had a lower level of the antibody that is linked to the development of allergies and asthma.

The new study, which hasn't been peer-reviewed, is "one more piece of data that early exposure to microbes helps prevent allergies", said Dr. Andrew MacGinnitie, clinical director of the Division of Immunology at Boston Children's Hospital.

"Based on these levels, you can't really tell what's going to happen to these kids in the future", Abou-Jaoude said, according to CNN.

In the latter study were 128 mothers used various techniques to clean the nipples that the baby had dropped on the floor: sterilized in boiling water or the dishwasher, washed with soap and water, you sucked on her. The conclusion seems to be supported by a previous study published in 2013 by Swedish researchers, who likewise found an association between parents sucking on their baby's pacifiers and a reduced risk of allergy development. "But that doesn't mean that if you have high IgE, you're definitely going to have allergies". Additional analyses indicated the differences were first seen at about 10 months.

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