A study released in the journal Pediatrics reveals that kids living in households in which dishes are washed by hand may experience fewer allergy-related illnesses.
The Swedish questionnaire-based study looked at 1,029 kids aged 7 and 8 in two areas of Sweden and included questions on asthma, eczema and rhinoconjunctivitis taken from the International Study of Asthma and Allergies in Childhood questionnaire.
Hand dishwashing was associated with a reduced risk of allergic disease development. That risk was further reduced in households where children were served fermented food or food bought directly from farms.
The study was based on the notion that certain household practices -- including, potentially, the less-efficient method of washing dishes by hand rather than with a dishwashing machine -- may increase microbial exposure, which can induce immunologic tolerance during early life.