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Science & Technology

Nail-biters may experience fewer allergies

By T.K. Randall
July 12, 2016 · Comment icon 9 comments

Have you ever bitten your nails ? Image Credit: CC BY-SA 2.0 D. Sharon Pruitt
A new study has suggested that children who bite their nails a lot might not develop as many allergies.
Most people consider nail-biting to be an annoying habit, but according to the results of a lengthy new study conducted in New Zealand, chewing on your nails or even sucking your thumb in your younger years can serve to reduce the likelihood of developing allergies later in life.

The findings seem to add credence to what is known as the 'hygiene hypothesis' which puts forward the notion that exposure to some germs as a child can help to strengthen the immune system.
Allergic reactions to dust mites and household pets seemed to be reduced the most however there were no reported improvements in the chances of developing asthma or hay-fever.

"While we don't recommend that these habits should be encouraged, there does appear to be a positive side to these habits," said Co-researcher Prof Malcolm Sears.

Source: BBC News | Comments (9)

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by Child of Bast 6 years ago
I call b******s on this one because I did both and still suffer when the weather changes.
Comment icon #2 Posted by rashore 6 years ago
I can believe it, a lot of stuff gets under fingernails. So it would make sense that regularly ingesting that stuff would help build up some immunity. Not constantly over-sanitizing the beejeebers out of a childs environment is a good thing IMO.
Comment icon #3 Posted by jarjarbinks 6 years ago
I'm never sick. I got the flu like once per 2 years. Everyone i know is jealous of that. I dont think i do something special to be like this. But i dont use a lot of chemical product. Maybe that help me to build strong immunity. I wash my hand maybe like 20 times per day or more, but only with water. I do use soap when i take my shower.
Comment icon #4 Posted by kobolds 6 years ago
it MAY prevent allergies but you definitely pick up disgusting habit . not sure if that good or bad  
Comment icon #5 Posted by paperdyer 6 years ago
Isn't a small case of whatever the basis for most vacines?
Comment icon #6 Posted by pokingjoker 6 years ago
i am a nail bitter, and never had allergies, and do indeed have a very healthy immune system rarely get sick. i now take an allergy pill as to the fact we have have 5 cats and a dog and with that many animals and 3 cats and dog sleeping with us i do have a small reaction to them now, so i could believe it and in truth it does make perfect sense. I mean that is how the immune system works right? You get exposed and the body fights it off and figures out how to prevent it.
Comment icon #7 Posted by freetoroam 6 years ago
I believe it too. We already know antibiotics affects the health of our immune system: So i can see how exposure to germs can strengthen it. Would not recommend children or anyone to bite their nails, maybe a bit of more outside play, fresh air and good hygiene would be a better way of building and maintaining a healthy immune system.
Comment icon #8 Posted by Buzz_Light_Year 6 years ago
I've also read that eating your boogers will attain the same results.  Bon-appetit   .
Comment icon #9 Posted by The Id3al Experience 6 years ago
I was a nail biter for about 25 years.... now I do not bite my nails due to hypnosis. However I do very rarely get sick. I have always thought if you are exposed to germs as a kid you do build a tollerace.

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