Most parents will do anything to keep their children healthy, though advice from a new study might come as a bit of a shock to new moms and dads. Scientists from the University of Gothenburg in Sweden recently published work in the journal Pediatrics stating that parents might be able to help their babies avoid getting eczema and asthma by cleaning off their pacifiers with their mouths.
Researchers tested this idea by recruiting 184 Swedish parents and their babies. During trials, half of the group cleaned their infants' pacifiers off with their mouths, while the second group washed them off with water. From the data, scientists found babies in the saliva group were "significantly less likely" to develop either eczema or asthma than their peers whose pacifiers were cleaned with water.
Bill Hesselmar, lead author of the study, told NPR the benefits may lie in the microbiome, or bacteria that live in the parents' bodies, since their bacteria may be able to change that of their babies.
"We think that these bacteria ... stimulate the immune system," Hesselmar told the radio station.
According to the American Lung Association, more than 7 million kids under the age of 18 are already afflicted with asthma. Even though parents might not be able to help them avoid the issue now, they can help them cope better with the condition by investing in a medical-grade air purifier like the IQAir HealthPro Plus for the home.