Eat more dirt!

You are less likely to have allergies if:

  • you have older siblings (especially brothers);
  • you rarely washed your face and hands as a child;
  • you have had gastric infections with microorganisms that originated in faeces;
  • you were brought up on a farm with animals;
  • you keep a dog;
  • the dust in your home is contaminated with bacteria;
  • or you lived in Communist country rather than western Europe.

You are more like to be allergic if you were given antibiotics as a small child.

Increased levels of allergies (including asthma, hayfever and eczema) and other immune disorders (such as diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease and multiple sclerosis) are causing widespread concern. Many developed countries now report as many as 40% of children suffering from allergies. A growing number of scientists are supporting the ‘hygiene hypothesis’ as the most likely cause for the increase in these disorders.

Writing in the August issue of Biologist, Graham Rook (Professor of Medical Microbiology, University College Medical School and Research Director at SR Pharma) concludes that, ‘Developed countries are suffering from an escalating epidemic of diseases of faulty immunoregulation. Trials now show that certain bacteria provide protection against these diseases in animals and man.’

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