Study finds kids on farms suffer less from allergies or asthma
COLUMBIA - Lots of parents encourage their children to play outside. And now, they may have another reason to.
A recent study revealed children who grow up on dairy farms very rarely develop asthma or sensitivity to allergies.
Scientists discovered there are small traces of bacteria in the dust and dirt around farms. Over time, the farm children breath in the small amounts of the dust and bacteria. The regular exposure to the dust allows the childrens' immune systems to learn to how fight off harmful substances in a controlled, healthy way. This is very different from the body's response in an allergic attack.
People's allergy symptoms are a result of an overreaction from the body's immune system. In an allergy attack, a person's immune system tries to attack substances that are not actually harmful to the body.
Scientists say by simply exposing themselves to small amounts of dust and bacteria at a young age, farm children improve their immune systems by slowly letting thier bodies learn to fight off foreign substances naturally.
However one does not have to spend years in the county air to get a break from allergies. Doctor Leen Al-Sayyed of the Boone Medical Group said people in rural areas often suffer less from allergies just because of the cleanliness of the air.
"With the increasing levels of carbon dioxide in the air as a result of global warming, we see pollen counts go up," Al-Sayyed said. "More pollution, more allergies."
Al-Sayyed said the high levels of carbon dioxide in urban air pollution allows for plants to pollinate more. And more pollen, means more allergies.
In short, there is something to be said for the value of "clean, county air."
To see the full study, click here.
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