Babies whirl up a lot of dust when they crawl - and inhale it
When babies crawl, the movements expose them to large amounts of dirt, skin cells, bacteria, pollen and fungal spores - and also inhale these substances. This has been shown in a recent study by American scientists. However, the researchers point out that this is not necessarily a disadvantage.
Babies inhale high concentrations of dirt when crawling
Babies whirl up high concentrations of dirt, skin cells, bacteria, pollen and fungal spores when crawling over floors - especially carpets. The little ones also breathe in these substances, as a recent study by researchers at Purdue University in West Lafayette (Indiana) has shown. As alarming as it sounds, according to the study director, this is not necessarily a bad thing.
Reduce risk of asthma and allergic diseases
While crawling, babies inhale a dust dose into their lungs four times (per kilogram of body mass) than that of an adult who walks upright on the same floor, but the researchers see no major cause for concern.
"We are interested in the biological material an infant breathes, especially during the first year of life when they crawl," said study leader Brandon Boor in a statement from the university.
According to the expert, numerous studies have shown that inhaling "microbes and allergenic particles in this part of life can play an important role in reducing the risk of developing asthma and allergic diseases".
The results of the current study were published in the "Environmental Science & Technology" magazine.
Small children breathe through the mouth more often
To investigate how much garbage the babies breathe in, the research team built a robotic crawling baby and tested it on actual carpet samples they had removed from their homes.
Then the researchers measured and analyzed the particles in the breathing zone.
“We used state-of-the-art aerosol instruments to track the biological particles floating in the air in seconds in real time. The instrument uses lasers to make biological material fluoresce, ”said Boor.
"Most bacterial cells, fungal spores and pollen particles are fluorescent, so that they can be reliably distinguished from non-biological material in the air."
The expert also explained why babies inhale so much more dust into their lungs. “In adults, a significant part of the biological particles in the upper airways, nostrils and throat are removed. But very young children breathe through the mouth more often, which is why a significant proportion of the particles end up in the lower airways.
Too clean an environment can endanger health
In their communication, the scientists point out that experts assumed decades ago that an environment that is too clean can suppress the development of the immune system.
Allergists sometimes refer to this as "the agricultural effect". Finally, studies have shown that barn dust can protect us from allergies and asthma.
"In western societies, infants spend almost all of their time in closed rooms, where the dust raised inside can make a significant contribution to their breathing with biological material," the message says. (ad)