News / Health

Early Exposure to Dirt, Dander Could Prevent Allergies, Asthma

File - Exposure to allergens such as cat dander before age one may protect against allergies and asthma, according to new research.  (Via <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/stark23x/">Flickr</a>
File - Exposure to allergens such as cat dander before age one may protect against allergies and asthma, according to new research. (Via Flickr

Related Articles

South Sudan Cholera Cases, Deaths on Rise

A U.N. official says 27 people have died of cholera and the number of cases has nearly doubled since last week, rising from 586 to 1,106.

US Backs New Genetic Research on Infectious Diseases

National Institutes of Health awards $25 million to back initiative to study diseases like malaria and influenza at genetic level to help find better treatments, preventive measures
VOA News
There's some new research that might not sit well with fastidious new mothers and clean-freak new fathers.

Exposure to pet dander, roach droppings and other household bacteria in the first year of life appears to reduce the chances a person will suffer from allergies or asthma, according to a new study.
 
Researchers at Johns Hopkins Children’s Center found that exposure to allergens in the first year of life was important in order for exposure to be beneficial.

Previous studies had shown that children who grew up on farms are less likely to develop allergies or asthma because of their exposure to allergens,
 
"Our study shows that the timing of initial exposure may be critical," says study author Robert Wood, M.D., chief of the division of allergy and immunology at the Johns Hopkins Children's Center in a statement released today. "What this tells us is that not only are many of our immune responses shaped in the first year of life, but also that certain bacteria and allergens play an important role in stimulating and training the immune system to behave a certain way."
 
Researchers hope the findings will lead to ways to prevent allergies and wheezing, which are both precursors to asthma.
 
Asthma is one of the most common pediatric illnesses, affecting some 7 million children in the United States, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
 
For the study, Wood and his colleagues tracked 467 inner-city newborns from Baltimore, Boston, New York and St. Louis. Over three years, they visited them to measure levels and types of common allergens in their homes.
 
They also tested the children for allergies and wheezing using blood tests, skin-prick tests, physical exams and parental surveys.
 
They also took bacterial counts on samples of dust collected from some of the homes.
 
What they found was that children exposed to mouse and cat dander as well as cockroach droppings in their first year of life “had lower rates of wheezing at age three, compared with children not exposed to these allergens soon after birth.”
 
Researchers also found that exposure to all three was better than one, two or none.
 
Wheezing was three times more common for children not exposed to allergens compared to those who were exposed to all three.
 
A greater variety of bacteria proved better at stemming allergies and wheezing, researchers said.
 
The amount of allergens was also critical, as researchers said children free of wheezing and allergies at age three had gorwn up surrounded by the highest levels of household allergens. Forty-one percent of those without wheezing and allergies grew up in bacteria-rich homes. Only 8 percent of those who had wheezing and allergies had been exposed to allergens in their first year of life.
 
According to Wood, the children tracked in the study are now turning seven and are being checked again to see if exposure to allergens early in life was still reducing the prevalence of allergies and wheezing.
 
A report on the study was published today in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.

You May Like

Video Experts Warn World Losing Ebola Fight

Doctors Without Borders says world is losing battle against Ebola, unless wealthy nations dispatch specialized biological disaster response teams More

Video Experts: Rise of Islamic State Significant Development in Jihadism

Many analysts contend the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years More

US-Based Hong Kongers Pledge Support for Pro-Democracy Activists

Democracy advocates call on Chinese living abroad to join them in opposing new election rules for their home territory More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Edward Yeranian from: Cairo, Egypt
June 08, 2014 9:08 AM
An Egyptian friend who is a medical doctor tells me that he frequently allows mosquitoes to bite him because it will help his immune system. I've also noticed that the flies and mosquitoes tend to avoid Egyptians, gravitating instead to foreigners.......who, one presumes, must have tastier blood. Undoubtedly, there are implications to that which deserve a study.
Edward Yeranian, Cairo


by: Nell Nockles from: London, UK
June 07, 2014 1:18 AM
Exposure to cat, and house dust mite proteins (allergens) can happen long before birth. They can be found in the 'soup' babies drink and excrete and may be protective. It all depends upon amounts, genes and maternal nutrition etc. See Professor Graham Devereux


by: youwouldthink
June 06, 2014 8:32 PM
I think the scientists are not interpreting the data right. What I think the study might actually be showing is how cleaning products and insecticides impact children's immune systems.


by: Eric from: San Francisco
June 06, 2014 6:26 PM
I grew up on a farm and was exposed to everything from bee stings to horses, family pets and various grass and plant pollen from an early age. Still had allergies and asthma so I question how valid this study is.

In Response

by: sunny
June 08, 2014 7:37 PM
There are always deviant cases in studies, since not everyone is the exact same. The article also says that "children who grew up on farms are less likely to develop allergies or asthma"-- less likely.. that doesn't mean that it definitely won't happen. It just means that there were less cases of allergies and asthma in the test population of children who grew up on farms.

In Response

by: Jon from: Boston
June 07, 2014 4:38 AM
Take a statistics class. You are an N of 1.


by: Russell Utoft
June 06, 2014 6:26 PM
This has been known for a long time. I was brought in the late 40s and 50s and I don't remember that many kids having the allergies that kids have today. But what is the answer ?

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearancei
X
Elizabeth Lee
September 02, 2014 8:57 PM
Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearance

Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Experts See Rise of ISIS as Significant Development

The Islamic State’s rise seems sudden. It caught the U.S. by surprise this summer when it captured large portions of northern Iraq and spread its wings in neighboring Syria. But many analysts contend that the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years. VOA's Jela de Franceschi takes a closer look at the rise of ISIS and its implications for the Middle East and beyond.
Video

Video Israel Concerned Over Syrian Rebels in Golan

Israeli officials are following with concern the recent fighting between Syrian rebels and government forces near the contested Golan Heights. Forty-four U.N. peacekeepers from Fiji have been seized by Syrian Islamist rebels and the clashes occasionally have spilled into Israel. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.

AppleAndroid