Nobody likes doing the dishes, but it turns out that doing this mundane task might pay off in an unexpected way. According to a new study published in the Journal of Pediatrics, washing dishes by hand instead of using a dishwasher might prevent the development of allergies. Researchers in Sweden surveyed the parents of 1,029 children ages 7 and 8. They discovered that children whose families hand-washed the dishes instead of using a machine were less likely to have allergies.Earlier research has shown that dishes washed by machine are cleaner than those washed by hand. So why would kids who eat off of slightly dirtier plates be better off when it comes to preventing allergies? One explanation is based on a theory known as the “hygiene hypothesis,” which says the reason kids develop allergies is because their surroundings are actually too clean.Your immune system keeps you healthy by fighting germs like bacteria and viruses. But when you have allergies, it overreacts and tries to fight ordinary things like pollen or certain foods.Being exposed to germs, especially early in life, is good training for the immune system, says the lead author of the study, Dr. Bill Hesselmar of Queen Silvia Hospital in Sweden. “You stimulate the immune system in various ways and it becomes tolerant.” This study shows that while using the dishwasher might be easier, the old-fashioned method of cleaning up could be better for your health.
By Kiarra Bell