The idea that keeping your children clean can weaken the immune system is a myth, scientists say.
For years academics have suggested a rise in hayfever, asthma and food allergies among youngsters could be due to ultra-hygienic modern homes.Insurance Loans Mortgage Attorney Credit Lawyer
But now University College London experts say this is not the case, and that overly-sterile surfaces and too much handwashing are not to blame.
They insist children are still exposed to germs naturally, which prime their immune system for the future.
Hugging loved ones and rolling around in the mud are two crucial ways in which youngsters are exposed to bacteria and other microbes that train the body to fight off bugs.
More than 40 per cent of children — or 4million people — suffer from at least one allergy in the UK, charity estimates suggest. This number increases by five per cent every year.
In the US, more than 50million Americans suffer from an allergy each year.
Scientists at University College London say having a clean home does not cause allergies. (Pictured: Stock)
The 'hygiene hypothesis' is the theory that allergy levels have spiked among children and adults because of western cleaning practices.
It argues that regularly washing hands, faces and showering reduces exposure to 'good' bacteria.
This can lead the immune system to mis-fire in later life and attack naturally occurring substances, they say.Insurance Loans Mortgage Attorney Credit Lawyer
But evidence this is the case is patchy, with only some studies suggesting the idea is correct.
Now scientists at University