The Jakarta Post
For children, sucking their thumbs is a way to calm themselves when they are feeling weary or sleepy. (Shutterstock/-)
Parents of infants who like to suck their thumbs or bite their nails may have cause to relax as new research suggests such habits may actually bring health benefits.
According to a study conducted by scientists from New Zealand's University of Otego, children who suck their thumbs or bite their nails are less prone to allergies as adults because the ingestion of bacteria living under their nails strengthens the immune system. For infants who have both habits, the risk of having allergies is slashed by more than a third, the Daily Mail reported.
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Recently published in the US journal Pediatrics, the study reportedly examined 1,037 children aged 5, 7, 9 and 11 years old, who later were given allergy skin prick tests when they were aged 13 and 32.
For children, sucking their thumbs is a way to calm themselves when they are feeling weary or sleepy.
Despite the potential benefits, the study does not recommend the habits because, as infants get older, it can have a negative impact on their tooth development. (kes)