(Reuters Health) - Exposure to farms seems to reduce the risk of allergy sensitivity, even among adults, and living close to a livestock farm in particular might curb common allergies, a Dutch study suggests.
Based on more than 2,400 adults in the Netherlands, researchers found that people who lived within 327 meters (1,073 feet) of a farm, but were not farmers themselves, were about 21 percent less likely to experience a range of allergies compared to those living 500 m (1,640 ft) away or more.
The results were similar when researchers looked specifically at proximity to cattle or pig farms, though not for poultry farms. The apparent protection was also seen among people without allergy symptoms, but whose blood test showed a tendency to have an immune reaction associated with common allergies, food allergies, asthma and eczema.
For 20 years, a large number of studies have shown that allergies are less prevalent in farmers and farmers children, said senior study author Lidwien Smit of Utrecht University.
Farming is actually one of the few environmental exposures consistently linked to respiratory allergies, she told Reuters Health by email. Its important because the number of people affected by respiratory allergies has sharply increased ...