This is not new news, but somehow I missed it when it came out last year. This is definitely what you might call "Nate bait."
"The leading theory behind the uptick in childhood allergies, says Andy Nish, a physician with a private practice in Gainesville, Ga., is the hygiene hypothesis. Paradoxically, the theory goes, we're too clean.
"It looks like with our modern conditions and cleanliness that we have fewer and fewer germs to fight off," Nish said. "Our immune systems protect us by learning to fight off foreign invaders, whether they're harmless or not. We can't train our defenses if we don't get exposed. And if you're allergic to one thing, you're likely allergic to a number of things."
Look, I think that bleach smells like death. I also think that few things smell finer than a freshly tilled patch of earth. Dirt has become a dirty word in many modern households, but as it turns out, fastidious cleanliness might create problems of its own. More:
"Studies show children who live on farms have low rates of allergies. Dr. Mark Holbreich, an allergist in Indianapolis and a fellow of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, calls it "the farm effect."
Holbreich recently did a study, published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, which found very low rates of allergies among Amish children living on farms in Indiana. He said the reason may be because the children get exposed very early on to dirty environments and to a variety of dust and germs. Even young kids are often in the barn, working with animals and drinking raw milk."
The Farm Effect! What a wonderful thing. I'll admit readily to being a fairly enthisiastic evangelist for the value of children spending time in the outdoors, and this study points to one reason why.