A new research has shown that children exposed to dust and farm animals have healthier lungs and are less prone to getting asthma.
The research revealed that being in constant contact with the microbes of farm animals and dust helped in building the immune systems of children. It has been hypothesized that early exposure to these microbes in the first few years of a child's life will help protect them from asthma.
Childhood Asthma on the Rise
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there has been a surge in childhood asthma among American grade-schoolers. The 5 to 11 year-old age group currently has the highest rate of those that have childhood asthma at 10.6 percent.
Asthma is a chronic condition and currently, there is no cure for it. Some may grow out of their asthma, but others carry the disease throughout their adult life. In some cases, the disease returns after being dormant.
Childhood Asthma Rare on Amish Children
Researchers from the University of Chicago Medical Center and the University of Arizona analyzed the Amish and Hutterite farming communities from Indiana and North Dakota, respectively. Their research was published in The New England Journal of Medicine.
Gizmodo reports that the Amish and Hutterites have common ancestry, customs and lifestyles, but they differ in their farming practices. The Amish still use the traditional farming method of using cows and horses for milking, transportation and fieldwork. The Hutterites, on the other hand, have gone modern and have utilized industrial machinery.
The main difference is that Amish children are more exposed to dust and farm animals than Hutterite children, making them less susceptible to childhood asthma compared to the latter.
Childhood Asthma Study Needs More Research
The study done by the researchers was a small scale one and further investigation needs to be done. The results shed light on some theories about childhood asthma, including how early exposure to allergens and microbes can strengthen the immune system can prove beneficial to children.
This is why the researchers are thinking of harnessing the effects of Amish children's lifestyle as an intervention for children with asthma, New York Times noted.
Do you think that a lot of American children are having asthma because they live in a "too-clean" environment and lack exposure? Let us know what you think in the comments below.