"In my day we used to throw the babies on the grass and let them get dirty. It's healthy."
If my dad said that to me one more time when my kids were little, I thought I'd scream. What would he know about raising babies?
Well, it turns out that he might be onto something after all.
A recent study has shown it's society's 'ultra-cleanliness' that is contributing to an increase in childhood allergies and eczema. The Institute of Child Health at Bristol University in the UK said children of parents with the highest standards of cleanliness are up to three times more likely to develop allergies and skin problems such as eczema. Children with eczema are the cleanest and most washed babies in the world.
Most babies will have peeling, flaking skin, redness and little 'milk rashes' around their mouths, but eczema is different. When a child develops eczema, the skin can become red, dry, itcy and scaly. When not managed correctly it can weep, bleed, crust over, become infected and cause extreme discomfort.
Families with a history of asthma and hay fever are more likely to produce children with the condition. Some never outgrow it.
Thirty per cent of Australian babies will now be affected by the condition and 10 per cent of adults.
Kalli Hourn is 10 and has suffered from eczema her entire life. Her mum Roberta says it's been a struggle. “Your heart goes out to these kids. They want to tear their skin apart and somehow you’ve got to stop them."