Children who grow up on farms are less like to suffer from asthma and rhinitis in later life, a recent study in Australia has shown.
Researchers from the University of Melbourne examined data from over 200 people aged between 26-54 years to examine how their upbringing affected their tolerance to allergens.
The study focused on people who were raised in rural or inner city areas before the age of five, was conducted due to the dramatic rise in asthma and allergic disease witnessed over the past decade.
The results of the study, which were published in the scientific journal Thorax, show that children who are exposed to environmental or microbial biodiversity in early life are less likely to develop asthma or rhinitis.
The researchers also found that children who had early-life farm exposure were also less likely to develop hypersensitivity to allergies compared to their peers who were raised in inner city areas.
Another key finding showed that women who grew up on farmers were more likely to have better lung function and were less likely to suffer allergies compared to their city cousins.
The results of this study are quite similar to research carried out in Belgium earlier this year, which showed that children who grow up on dairy farms are less likely to develop allergies such as asthma or hay fever.
The Belgian researchers found that farms may be the best environment to grow up on to prevent respiratory problems and allergic reactions later in life.
This is because children who grow up on farms breath air containing bacterial components which reduces the immune systems reaction to allergens.
The research team said that it is not totally clear why this protection occurs, but they believe that it may triggered by close contact to housed livestock.