Why Farm Kids Don’t Have Allergies But City Kids Do

If your child suffers with allergies and asthma, your family probably lives in a city, not on a farm. It’s not the city pollution that’s to blame either, in fact it’s the cleanliness

A 2011 report documents the results of two European studies that looked at the differences between city kids and farm kids when it comes to developing allergies and childhood asthma. The studies indicated that youngsters who live on farms are 30 to 50 percent less likely than their city cousins to develop asthma or allergies.

Germ-filled Mattresses
One study focused on children’s bed mattresses. Researchers found that the mattresses of kids who lived on farms were chocked full of a wide assortment of bacteria. City kids’ mattresses contained far fewer bacteria in comparison.

But when it came to asthma and allergies, the opposite was true. City kids had way more allergies and were much more likely to be asthmatic compared to those who lived on farms.

Microbe-Laced Bedrooms
The other study zeroed in on dust found in children’s’ rooms. Dust from farm kids’ rooms contained plenty of bacteria and fungus. Meanwhile, city kids’ rooms contained a lot fewer microbes in comparisons.

But, once again, the city kids experienced allergies and suffered asthma attacks to a much greater degree than those who lived on farms.

Based on these studies, researchers conclude that it’s beneficial to live in an environment that contains an assortment of “good germs,” microorganisms that help a child’s body develop resistance to allergies and asthma.

Prevention, Solutions

If you’re a city dweller and looking forward to having a baby, consider moving to a rural area before your baby’s birth. Or, if that’s not feasible, bring home a pet or two before your due date.Research suggests that having pets will introduce germs into your home that might keep your baby-to-be from developing asthma and allergies later on.

In addition, plan to allow your baby plenty of play time in parks where there are lots of trees, grass, flowers, and bushes so she can be exposed to the outdoors like farm children are.

To learn how to prevent and treat your child’s bothersome symptoms, check out FYI Living articles on allergies and asthma.

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  • How counter-intuitive. This isn’t news to me as far as bacteria actually being good. Most bacteria is actually good for us.

    Good article to show germophobes… 🙂

  • There is another factor here that this study missed, yet was a critical item reported in the 1990’s Pediatric Association study: daycare. Daycare exposes infants and young children to the full range of viral and bacterial infections at a much younger age than they normally see. It hyper charges their immune systems leading to asthma and allergies. The 90’s studies showed a hard corralation between the rise in daycare and the rise in asthma. In fact, that study showed that the external factors of particulates and pollution so often blamed by EPA and the media are minor issues. This study actually reinforces the 90’s study since the vast majority of daycare is urban and suburban with only a few in the rural areas.

  • Re asthma and day care: A simple search suggests that more recent studies suggest that day care might provide some protection against developing asthma or have no effect at all. Not sure how you can say the study cited in the FYI article supports the 90s study. It certainly says nothing about “hyper-charging” immune systems, though it does suggest taht exposure to germs and bacteria is to some degree a good thing.

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