An international team of scientists is working on a 'farm dust' treatment to stop children developing allergies as research reveals the protective benefits of being brought up on a farm can last into adulthood.
The study has found evidence that children brought up on family farms have greater protection into early adulthood from allergic rhinitis, a reaction that can cause a runny nose, sneezing and red eyes.
Scientists now believe substances in barnyard dust and the benefits of drinking unprocessed milk may be involved in protecting against allergies. One theory is the variety of micro-organisms they contain help boost the body’s defences.
An international consortium of researchers is now working on potential treatments from farm dust and unprocessed milk that may combat the reported increasing prevalence of food allergies, with a target to deliver a product within the next five years.
Erika von Mutius, a paediatrician at the Helmholtz research centre in Munich and the Dr von Hauner children’s hospital at Munich University, said the international work involved examining the protective extracts from farm dust and studying the beneficial effects on children of minimally processed milk.
She said: “We are on that journey to develop a treatment that in the best of all worlds would prevent asthma and allergies. There’s a lot of promising work and we’re slowly getting there.”