Washing dishes by hand may lower kids’ allergy risk

The New York Times “Well” blog reports that a study published in the journal Pediatrics “suggests that parents who wash their dishes by hand, rather than in a dishwashing machine, may unwittingly lower the likelihood that their children will develop allergies.” In the study, which included some 1,000 Swedish youngsters and parents, researchers “found that children raised in households where dishes were always washed by hand had half the rate of allergies.”

In addition, investigators “discovered that this relationship was amplified if the children also ate fermented foods or if the families bought food directly from local farms.”

TIME reports that the study “adds to an increasing body of evidence that suggests getting a little dirty does the immune system some good.”