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Article 1 (Aug 2018): Living near a farm reduces allergies, study says

August 30, 2018
Growing up on or near a farm, as well as merely living close to one as an adult can lower the likelihood of developing allergies, according to recent research from the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine.
              
The study analyzed data from 2,400 adults living in the Netherlands, measuring how far away subjects lived from a farm. They also took geographic and weather data to estimate how far fine dust might travel from a farm to reach those living farther away.
              
Blood tests were used during the study to look at how subjects developed antibodies during their life to things like dust mites, cats, dogs, and grass even among those that showed no outward symptoms. Overall, they found that people living within 1,073 feet of a farm were 21 percent less likely to suffer from a variety of different allergies than those living more than 1,640 feet away. It was also discovered that the farms were able to protect even those people who had a genetic tendency to become allergic to specific environmental factors and that the effects were more pronounced in those that had lived around the farms since birth and were around either pig or cattle farms as opposed to those raising poultry alone.
              
Similar studies over the past two decades have shown that there is a consistent link between early exposure to allergens of any sort and a stronger defense against allergies. Childhood exposure to dust and pets in the home, for instance, can lead to a stronger immune system in general compared to a sanitized house devoid of outside contaminants.
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