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Ditch the antibacterial wipes for healthy newborns

Exposing newborns to bacteria within the first two weeks will protect them against asthma.

New research published in the journal Nature Medicine suggests that the first two weeks of life are crucial for a child’s development in which exposure to bacteria is required.

Previously, researchers have suggested that children who are protected too much against germs while growing up have greater risk of developing allergies and asthma during adulthood.

Previous studies have found that children with older siblings, those who grew up on a farm, or who attended day care early in life, seem to show lower rates of allergies than those whose early childhood was more protected.

Asthma attacks are caused by an over-strong inflammatory immune response to allergy triggers such as house dust mites, pets or air pollutants.

The Royal College of Midwives (RCM) said parents of newborns ought still remain vigilant about hygiene but use soap and water avoiding commercial antibacterial products.

According to RCM Deputy General Secretary Louise Silverton, parents need to take care of their newborns without being too obsessed with cleanliness.

“Things like hand washing before feeding and after nappy changing, washing clothes at the right temperature, keeping babies away from pets and from visitors with infections are all important,” he says.

“But when it comes to washing, soap and water is sufficient, there is really no need for parents to be using antibacterial wipes which can prevent the baby’s natural immunity from developing,” he added.