Dishwashers are not only a wonderful timesaving luxury, but they also give us the reassurance that our dishes are exceptionally clean. A new study revealed that there could be a downside to dishwashers making dishes “too clean”; the study found that hand washing dishes instead could lower your children’s risk of developing allergic conditions like asthma or eczema.
Researchers at Queen Silvia Children’s Hospital in Sweden quizzed parents of approximately 1,000 Swedish children, all 7 or 8 years old, about the children’s history of asthma, eczema and seasonal allergies. 12% of the families in the study hand washed dishes, and the children in those families had nearly half the risk of developing allergic conditions in comparison to children in families that used a dishwasher.
Hand washing dishes exposes children to more bacteria, which could actually be beneficial in strengthening their immune system, and could be the reason why they have a reduced risk of developing an allergic condition.
Quite a few cultures practice spring cleaning—the Chinese, for example, clean their homes to get ready for the new year. They clean as a way to rid the home of bad luck and invite good fortune in the coming year. In the past, families of many cultures kept their homes tightly sealed from the elements, but heating their homes with coal, oil and wood made dwellings dingy by the time spring rolled around. When spring finally sprung, families hauled everything out of the house to give furniture and clothes a thorough cleaning. Spring cleaning is a refreshing way to give old man winter the boot, and welcome warmer weather with a clean home.
If you have asthma, just the thought of stirring up dust, pet dander, and mold while spring cleaning is enough to make you sneeze. However, you can take a few precautions to prevent a flare up while cleaning.
- If your asthma management plan has been successful, you have a better chance of avoiding an asthma attack while cleaning. If cleaning in the past has irritated your asthma, keep rescue inhalers on hand.
- Wear a mask while cleaning to shield your nose from cleaning product chemicals. Also consider using more natural products like baking soda and vinegar, which will fight mold without irritating your lungs.
- Start by cleaning the bedroom since that’s where we spend a lot of time. Wash bedding on the hot cycle; wipe down surfaces with soapy water; and dust items like lamps, fans and blinds.
- Try to schedule your cleaning early enough in the day so you can spend a few hours out of the house afterward. That will give your lungs a break while dust settles and odors from cleaning products dissipates.
Are you on an asthma treatment plan, but need a refresher on how to get the most out of your medicine? Check out our asthma resources page for equipment instructions, educational videos, and other asthma resources.