A new study has found that kids who grow up on farms breathe easier than kids who don't. That is to say that kids who grow up on farms are 30 to 50 percent less likely than others to develop asthma. Think it's because of all of that clean, fresh country air? You'd be wrong. It's because of the germs.
Researchers at Munich University Children's Hospital in Germany studied the health and living environment of 933 European children and found that children who grew up on farms were exposed to the greatest variety of bacteria and fungi in their household dust when compared to kids who did not grow up on farms. Farm kids were also much less likely to develop asthma and allergies than non-farmers. The study was published last week in the New England Journal of Medicine.
Scientists aren't sure if these results just show a general correlation, or if the "good" microbes that kids are exposed to on farms might actually help protect kids from developing allergies. But this also isn't the first study to show that kids who grow up on farms tend to have lower rates of asthma.
If researchers can narrow down which microbes are useful in preventing asthma and allergies, they may be able to protect kids from developing the conditions, or at the very least develop vaccines that combat their effects.
And that would be a breath of fresh air for lots of kids.