Allergies have always fascinated me. One of my earliest memories is running around the house and the yard, sticking my noise in everything to detect if I was allergic. Swing set, no. TV no. I was almost disappointed that I was allergic to nothing.
I stumbled across an article that mentions links between cleanliness and sneezyness. For some time I have noticed the same connection. When I was in grade school I specifically remember that kids of overprotective parents always had allergies, glasses, inhalers and good grades.
The article mentions that doctors have been puzzled by the correlation between industrialized areas and allergies. You would think that allergies would occur out, away from the cities, where the plants, shrubs and pollen are.
Intuitively I always felt that the immune system, just like any part of the body needed to be regularly exercised. If you live in a ‘clean room’, then the smallest particle becomes an invader, and your under-educated system declares war (like a trigger happy Texan). This causes you too sneeze, scratch, and generally fell like crap.
I have experienced this effect first hand. Recently I started using some very powerful methods to clean. I actually use these scrub gloves to rub the dirt and first layer of skin off my body. I started noticing that I was itchier at first. Later, for the first time I started having allergies. I sneeze several times a day.
Cleaning is good if you are a doctor. However, I suspect that more damage has been done in the name of clean, then a little dirt here and there.