child sucking thumb-CC-Flickr-Various Brennemans

It turns out some habits parents try to break in their kids are actually good for their health.

A new study published in the journal Pediatrics shows children who bite their nails and suck their thumbs are about one-third less likely to develop certain allergies.

“Early exposure to dirt is not a bad thing,” said study author Malcolm Sears, a researcher for the Firestone Institute for Respiratory Health at McMaster University School of Medicine, in Ontario, Canada. “Cat, grass, house dust mite, and dog allergies were reduced, some significantly.”

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The findings may be another example of what’s called the hygiene hypothesis, which asserts that hyper cleanliness in families and avoiding exposure to the microbes in the environment may increase a child’s risk of allergies.

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“When they suck their thumbs or bite their nails they’re exposing themselves to additional microbes or dirt which is stimulating the immune system,” Sears told CBS News.

(WATCH the video below from CBS)

Spread Some Germs—Share the News…  (Photo by Various Brennemans, CC)

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