Make your boots dirty, say the researchers. A new study shows that the earth's bacteria protect children in cities from asthma.
Researchers have learned from so-called agricultural studies: Who plays a lot in the barn as a child is better protected from allergies and asthma than city dwellers.
Now shows a study in the magazine "Nature": The firm effect can be applied to townhouses. While many typical farm microbes are present, children develop asthma less often.
Barn bacteria protect against asthma
The researchers discovered this link by examining the bacterial communities of 400 Finnish households and 1000 German households.
Studies of the farm
In the 1980s, Swiss land doctor Markus Gassner discovered that farmer children are less likely to suffer from allergies than city children.
Since then, scientists have conducted intensive research on this phenomenon. They had already found in previous studies: The air in the stable and raw milk, farmers often drink, preventing allergies.
Plus, researchers know that children who have always stayed in the stable like a tiny baby are better protected from hay fever and asthma.
Now, Swiss scientists as well as international colleagues have been able to prove for the first time that the bacteria found in the stable also protected the city's children from asthma.
It has turned out that the most typical microbes of the farm meet in the living room or the bedroom, less the asthmatic children who live there develop.
"This has made the positive effect of the farm much more tangible.We now know that a bacterial cocktail, as in the stable, protects against asthma," says Roger Lauener, pediatrician and allergist at Children's Hospital of Eastern Switzerland in St. Gallen and co-author of the study.
Dirty city shoes as protection
Until now, researchers do not know why some barn microbes are housed in some houses and apartments in the city.
"But we have seen that these bacteria grow especially when more land is transported to the apartment – for example, when people walk with town shoes at home," says study co-author Pirkka Kirjavainen of the National Institute of Health and Social Welfare of Finland.
Big brothers and sisters help
Even children with older siblings were better protected from asthma during the exam. This could be due to the fact that they often come into contact with dirty rubber boots or other dirt that bring siblings into the apartment.
In the soil of the garden, for example, live harmless microbes, to which the immune system of the baby himself is accustomed very early. For example, when children take the earth in their mouths.
Thus, the defense system does not subsequently develop an allergy to harmless bacteria that live in household dust, for example.
Forest soil and bacterial spraying for urban children?
In order to make the agricultural effect usable by urban dwellers, Finnish researchers are now trying to place the soil out of the forest, at the entrance of townhouses or townhouses. About the clothes and the shoes, the bacteria of this earth will be distributed in the rooms.
According to Pirkka Kirjavainen, if agricultural microbes can be introduced in townhouses in this way, this remains to be proven: "The study is still ongoing.There is also the idea of developing a nasal spray containing components. bacteria typical of the farm. "
However, until such sprays are available, parents can do a lot to protect their children from asthma and allergies, says Swiss pediatrician Roger Lauener. "Let the children grow up in normal contact with the environment. Playing in the sandbox is already healthy for the defense system. "