Growing up on a farm may protect against allergic rhinitis for life

Studies have reported a low prevalence of allergic rhinitis in farmers and farmers' children.

In this Swedish study, a questionnaire on respiratory health was mailed to 30,000 randomly selected subjects aged 16–75. The response rate was 62%.

People that lived on a farm during their first 5 years of life had a lower prevalence of allergic rhinitis in all groups, even among the oldest (61–75 years).

The negative correlation between childhood farm living and allergic rhinitis was similar in 46–75 years of age (OR 0.82) as in 16–45 years of age (OR 0.78). There was a trend of increasing allergic rhinitis with increasing urbanization.

The study authors concluded that a lifelong protective effect of childhood farm living on the prevalence of allergic rhinitis.

Children living on a farm are at reduced risk of asthma (OR 0.68), hay fever (OR, 0.43), atopic dermatitis (OR, 0.80), and atopic sensitization (OR, 0.54)


Eriksson J, Ekerljung L, Lötvall J, Pullerits T, Wennergren G, Rönmark E, Torén K, Lundbäck B. Growing up on a farm leads to lifelong protection against allergic rhinitis. Allergy 2010; DOI: 10.1111/j.1398-9995.2010.02397.x.

Protective role of contact with livestock and farming lifestyle on asthma, in particular during childhood. ERJ January 1, 2012 vol. 39 no. 1 67-75.

Image source:, public domain.

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