Lebanese babies and toddlers are becoming less exposed to dirt and environmental pathogens, something doctors argue could hinder their ability to fight off diseases later in life.(The Daily Star/Mahmoud Kheir)
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In Lebanon, where mothers are more and more concerned about their children's hygiene and there is a significant increase in urbanization, babies and toddlers are becoming less exposed to dirt and environmental pathogens, something doctors argue could hinder their ability to fight off diseases later in life.In the first few months of a baby's life, it has to learn how to cope with environmental exposure to immune system challenges. According to Akle, some exposure to germs early in a child's life, such as not sterilizing a baby's pacifier after falls to the ground, can greatly benefit their immune system. Most of the rest, however, are benign, and exposure to mycobacteria is considered very important in tuning one's immune system, particularly as a baby, Akle said.According to Mroueh, children nowadays were developing more allergies and he put this down to the controversial hygiene hypothesis, which suggests children are growing more susceptible to allergies due to lack of exposure to infectious agents.Mroueh and Waked echoed Akle's advice, adding that lack of exposure to the natural world meant children could become more susceptible to indoor allergies.
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