Kids born and raised on farms, when compared to suburban and city kids, are 50 percent less likely to develop eczema and other kinds of allergic conditions like asthma and hay fever, says a new study from Australia. Although there are skin care products that can help eczema, being able to prevent it is far preferable.
The Aussie researchers surveyed nearly 600 children between five and seventeen years old and 1,333 farmers. They concluded that exposure to farm animals prior and subsequent to birth may have led to the resistance to allergic conditions.
Other studies have already shown that exposing children to dogs and cats at a young age has a similar effect, probably by helping build the immune system against common allergens.
However, before you decide on a career change and pack your bags for a life in the country, you should know that there are many factors other than farm animals that could have played a role in the Australian study results.
Other studies have shown, for example, that the closer you live to freeways and high traffic areas, the higher the risk of eczema and similar skin conditions. In fact, eczema has reached epidemic proportions in industrialized nations, and it’s not likely the absence of farm animals that’s causing the problem.
In addition to airborne pollutants, other chemical exposure also comes into play. Chemical additives in our processed, canned, and packaged food, meat from animals fed antibiotics, hormones and other chemicals, and household cleansers and skin care products loaded with chemicals are prime examples.
Since it’s unlikely that many of the farmers surveyed for the Australian study have a high level of exposure to industrial and mass-farming pollutants, and it’s unlikely that farmers’ wives are as focused on trying out one new chemical-laden skin care product after another in search of the fountain of youth, it might be safe to say that the results of the study may have been skewed by the fact that farms offer cleaner air, more sunshine, more natural food, more outdoor exercise, and an all-round healthier lifestyle.
Before you make any drastic moves, give adopting a healthier lifestyle in an urban environment a try. Eliminate as many chemicals as possible and if you already have eczema, use a shielding lotion. A good shielding lotion prevents the absorption of both airborne chemicals and those found in household cleansers and skin care products.
A healthy, natural lifestyle, including natural skin care products that don’t cause or exacerbate skin problems, could be all the help you need. But if you’ve got room for a goat, that might help, too.