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Sucking on infant’s pacifier may help parents prevent allergies in their kids

Parents who suck on their infant’s pacifier to clean it may suppress immunoglobulin E, or IgE, levels in their child during infancy, according to research presented at the American College for Allergy, Asthma and Immunology Annual Scientific Meeting.

“IgE is an antibody that all people have,” Eliane Abou-Jaoude, MD, an allergy fellow at Henry Ford Hospital and ACAAI member, told Infectious Diseases in Children. “In people with allergies or asthma, it is usually found in higher levels. What we found was that [later in infancy], the trajectory of our slope line was lower in patients whose parents cleaned their pacifiers by sucking on it.”

The researchers examined IgE levels of infants who used pacifiers throughout their first 18 months of life.

Of the 128 mothers interviewed, 58% reported that their child used a pacifier. Pacifier cleaning methods varied, with most parents hand-washing the product (72%). The remaining parents reported sterilizing (41%) and sucking (12%) their child’s pacifier.

Hand-washing and sterilizing pacifiers did not change the levels of IgE found in serum collected from the infant.

However, the researchers observed that when parents cleaned pacifiers by sucking on them, their IgE levels were suppressed at age 10 months. These effects lasted up to age 18 months.

“More research needs to be done on this topic,” Abou-Jaoude said. “It is very important to understand that we are not recommending for anyone to change the way they clean their child’s pacifier or suck on their child’s pacifier. There might be good bacteria that affect the immune system, but there are also bad bacteria that can be transferred from the mother to the child.” – by Katherine Bortz

Disclosure: Abou-Jaoude reports no relevant financial disclosures.

Parents who suck on their infant’s pacifier to clean it may suppress immunoglobulin E, or IgE, levels in their child during infancy, according to research presented at the American College for Allergy, Asthma and Immunology Annual Scientific Meeting.

“IgE is an antibody that all people have,” Eliane Abou-Jaoude, MD, an allergy fellow at Henry Ford Hospital and ACAAI member, told Infectious Diseases in Children. “In people with allergies or asthma, it is usually found in higher levels. What we found was that [later in infancy], the trajectory of our slope line was lower in patients whose parents cleaned their pacifiers by sucking on it.”

The researchers examined IgE levels of infants who used pacifiers throughout their first 18 months of life.

Of the 128 mothers interviewed, 58% reported that their child used a pacifier. Pacifier cleaning methods varied, with most parents hand-washing the product (72%). The remaining parents reported sterilizing (41%) and sucking (12%) their child’s pacifier.

Hand-washing and sterilizing pacifiers did not change the levels of IgE found in serum collected from the infant.

However, the researchers observed that when parents cleaned pacifiers by sucking on them, their IgE levels were suppressed at age 10 months. These effects lasted up to age 18 months.

“More research needs to be done on this topic,” Abou-Jaoude said. “It is very important to understand that we are not recommending for anyone to change the way they clean their child’s pacifier or suck on their child’s pacifier. There might be good bacteria that affect the immune system, but there are also bad bacteria that can be transferred from the mother to the child.” – by Katherine Bortz

Disclosure: Abou-Jaoude reports no relevant financial disclosures.

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