Thursday, October 18, 2007

Clean Freak Mothers = Asthma

A recently published University of Alberta study found that children reared on a farm have less than half the risk of developing asthma as children who were reared by urban clean freak mothers.

Farm children ages 1 to 5 showed a stronger protective effect against asthma than those aged 6 to 11 years, probably due to earlier exposure to the farm environment.

Exposure to "endotoxins" from animal viruses and manure and avoidance of urban environment pollution early in life may very well reduce the risk for development of asthma.

European researchers also say that exposure to household cleaning sprays and air fresheners as little as once a week increases the risk of developing asthma.

Another study published in the American Thoracic Society's American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine suggests that the relative risk rates of developing childhood or adult asthma in relation to exposure to cleaning products could account for as much as 15 percent, or one in seven of asthma cases.

This report also suggests that children with allergic sensitizations in economically developed countries are far more likely to develop asthma than similarly sensitized children in poorer countries.

The researchers speculated that some factors that protect children with allergic sensitization from developing asthma are less present in affluent settings, which might not provide the commensal bacteria necessary for tolerance and immune function development.

So much for what my former husband's maiden Aunt Lillian always said about the importance of maintaining an absolutely spotless house for my children's health!


Mary Jean said...

We all have a maiden Aunt Lillian type somewhere in our past - I say clean house no more than once a week and not even that if you have better things to do with your time.

Gloria Barns, RN said...

Best not to switch on a kids clean gene!

Asthma is not the only problem clean freak Mothers cause for their children.

Early-age obsessive complusive behavior is frequently linked to those same mothers.

Jane said...

Here's to all the maiden Aunt Lillians who stick their perfectly powdered noses into busy mother's business!

Thanks for writing this post.

Diane said...

Nowadays you can't do anything right. Everything is going to hurt your child. So now it’s ok to have a dirty house. Don't get me wrong I'm all for not cleaning my house more than once a week. But it seems like everything is wrong to do with your kids. We didn't have this many restrictions and we turned out fine.

Ellen Troyer, MT MA said...

Hi Diane,

Unfortunately, I'm not so sure you are right about today's young mothers turning out fine.

Prescription drug use is amazingly high among women that age-including antidepressents, sleeping pills, and asthma meds.

The incidence of type2 diabetes continues to rise dramatically in that age group and that's not just fine with me.

Turning your back on scientific research designed to increase health and well being by saying "you turned out just fine" without it is not very smart-particularly considering the most recent epigenome research suggesting that our health and our illnesses could be related to the lifestyles and dietary intake of our grandparents, as well as our parents.

Dr. Ames said...

You go Troyer - we are all responsible for our genome and for the way it will affect future generations.

Besty said...

My husband grew up on the east coast with horrible asthma. His mother, guess her occupation? (Cleaning woman) Michael is the second of five boys (who all suffer from asthma) and that house was full of cleaners especially air fresheners. When we married he moved out west to a drier climate, when we moved in together he had bought an air freshener for the bathroom, I asked him, why do you need that? That was 15 years ago. He has not had an attack in 15 years. My husband shared terrible stories about his childhood asthma to this day it makes me sad that any child should have to suffer needlessely.

Brenda Starr said...

Hey Diane,

It's OK to have a messy lived in house - including a fair amount of ecofriendly dirt.

Certainly better than those "everything in it's place" sterile houses full of toxic funes from cleaning supplies.

Ellen Troyer, MT MA said...

We're getting off track here! The issue is that children need exposure to dirt to develop a healthy and stable immune system.

And chemical air freshners are OUT!!

I'm signing out for the afternoon.

Jess said...

Will you please call my mother-in-law and tell her that!

Ellen Troyer, MT MA said...

Hey Jess,

Now that was funny and I would be happy to call your mother-in-law. But try to be patient and keep reminding yourself that mothers-in-law and Aunt Lillians mean well and they are giving advice based on the information they have.

Have a great day.

JT said...

I'm doing my part keeping my kids Asthma-free. Plenty of dogs and dust bunnies around here. And yet another reason NOT to get rid of your pet when a baby is coming...