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September 14th: Hygiene is more than just keeping our environment clean

Microbiome science shows that failure to sustain a diverse microbiome by interaction with our microbial world is associated with chronic diseases including allergies, autoimmune diseases and type 1 diabetes. This is prompting worrying media headlines suggesting “we need to stop washing our hands” as a means to build a healthy gut microbiome.

An opinion article in this week’s Nursing Times explains that the idea that obsessive cleanliness is the culprit is no longer supported and looks at the real reasons behind the rise in allergies. Public health strategies most likely to sustain a healthy microbiome include healthier diets, reduced antibiotic prescribing, increased outdoor exposure and promoting natural childbirth and breast feeding.

For those of us who recognise why hygiene is still so important, not least because of its role in tackling antibiotic resistance and protecting the rising numbers of people who are vulnerable to infection, the question is how to restore confidence in it.

–Have your say at: https://www.nursingtimes.net/break-time/practice-comment/hygiene-is-more...