Professor in paediatrics says it's worrying how children have become obsessed with hygiene 1 month ago

Professor in paediatrics says it's worrying how children have become obsessed with hygiene

After a year of constant hand washing and focus on cleanliness, schools and creches are cleaner than ever.

And children as young as toddlers have become overly concerned about keeping their hands clean at all times.

And this is something we should be concerned about, says Lead Paediatrician Tonje Reier-Nilsen at Rikshospitalet hospital in Norway.

Reier-Nilsen, whose day job sees her overseeing the hospital's paediatric department, is concerned that the obsessive hand-cleaning will result in children having a weakened immune system.

"This is a genuine concern for us in the medical profession, Reier-Nilsen explains to TV2 News.

"Because what will happen to the natural microbiome and good bacteria we need when children have to keep washing and sanitising their hands as often as they have these past 18 months?"

She explains:

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"Countless studies confirm that it is extremely beneficial for the immune system to be exposed to a variety of bacteria at a young age. In fact, both different types of food and different types of bacteria are needed to develop a normally functioning immune system and a broad selection of gut bacteria."

The concern, according to Reier-Nilsen, is that children are not getting this now, which is problematic when we know that your bodies bacteria flora is established when you are a child.

"According to what we have seen in studies, our gut bacteria flora is established before children reach school starting age."

Which is why, she says, the current situation is worrying.

"And what is deeply concerning is that we simply do not know today that the long-term consequences of all this obsession with hand washing and sanitising will be for children, and how being exposed to nearly enough bacteria will affect their long-term health."