Can obsessive hygiene and cleanliness make our immune systems weak?
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<p>With more than 14 months into the Covid-19 pandemic, lockdown restrictions, practicing measures of cleanliness and physical distancing have become a part and parcel of life. But along the way, there’s been some speculation about vigilant hygiene measures, like wearing masks, regular washing of hands, and using sanitizers, leading to a weaker immune system.</p> <p>People have often correlated resistance to allergies like hay fever and eczema with constant natural exposure to microbes. This process is known as the “Hygiene Hypothesis.” It is a belief that kids who are exposed to more viruses, bacteria and other microbes early in life go on to build stronger immune systems. </p> <p>Allergist and immunologist at Cleveland clinic, James Fernandez observed that there isn’t strong scientific evidence to suggest that temporarily stepping up your cleaning game can pose any danger to your immune health. He further added that “This idea comes from observations that some developing countries where kids might be exposed to more pathogens tend to have lower rates of certain diseases such as allergies and asthma”.</p> <p>Clinical scientists at RCSI University of Medicine and Health Sciences are conducting research to look at whether lockdown restrictions and increased cleanliness measures will make allergic conditions more common and severe amongst adults in general and children in particular.</p> <p>But, with the current spread of respiratory viruses that cause Covid-19, which do not have a defined line of treatment, preventing them with good hygiene habits is important.</p>