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A study from rural Austria shows that children who are exposed to horses and stables before they are one year old, have a much lower incidence of asthma, hay fever and an allergic skin disease called atopic dermatitis.

Several recent papers show that allergies may be caused by lack of work for your immune system. When a germ gets into your blood stream, you make proteins called antibodies that attach to and kill that germ. If you have few infections early in life, your antibodies look for something to attack, even if it is not an invading germ: It may attack dust mites or cat dander or ragweed pollen. However, before you try to give your young child an infection, realize that this is just a theory, has not been proved yet, and may be wrong.

Exposure to farming in early life and development of asthma and allergy: a cross-sectional survey. Lancet, 2001, Vol 358, Iss 9288, pp 1129-1133. J Riedler, C BraunFahrlander, W Eder, M Schreuer, M Waser, S Maisch, D Carr, R Schierl, D Nowak, E vonMutius. Riedler J, Childrens Hosp, Muellner Hauptstr 48, A-5020 Salzburg, AUSTRIA

Checked 8/9/05

May 31st, 2013
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About the Author: Gabe Mirkin, MD

Sports medicine doctor, fitness guru and long-time radio host Gabe Mirkin, M.D., brings you news and tips for your healthful lifestyle. A practicing physician for more than 50 years and a radio talk show host for 25 years, Dr. Mirkin is a graduate of Harvard University and Baylor University College of Medicine. He is board-certified in four specialties: Sports Medicine, Allergy and Immunology, Pediatrics and Pediatric Immunology. The Dr. Mirkin Show, his call-in show on fitness and health, was syndicated in more than 120 cities. Read More
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