APR 13, 2016 1:29 PM PDT

Seasonal Allergies: Can Too Much Hygiene Be To Blame?

WRITTEN BY: Xuan Pham

As spring and summer approaches, allergy sufferers are bemoaning the ever-increasing pollen count. According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology, an estimated 30 percent of adults and nearly 40 percent of children have at least one allergy, including seasonal allergies. And the trend is on the rise.

There are many theories about why peoples' immune systems run haywire when exposed to otherwise harmless substances like pollen. One pervasive idea is known as the Hygiene Hypothesis, which suggests that sterile-like environments and limited exposure to bacteria and allergens could cause the immune system to be overly sensitive. This idea could explain, in part, why the prevalence of allergies is increasing worldwide in developed countries.

Moreover, the theory suggests exposure may be the key in acclimating the immune system so that they are less likely to attack when exposed to pollen, food, or other allergens. Indeed, scientists recently revised their recommendation, encouraging people to eat peanut butter earlier in order to help nut allergies in adulthood. Perhaps then seasonal allergies could also be helped with early exposure to pollen too? Watch the video to find out.
About the Author
  • I am a human geneticist, passionate about telling stories to make science more engaging and approachable. Find more of my writing at the Hopkins BioMedical Odyssey blog and at TheGeneTwist.com.
You May Also Like
JUL 14, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
Thermoluminescence Dating: How Heating Ancient Pots Can Help Determining Their Age
JUL 14, 2020
Thermoluminescence Dating: How Heating Ancient Pots Can Help Determining Their Age
Radiometric dating is an effective method for determining the age of the material, whether a mineral or a piece of organ ...
JUL 15, 2020
Plants & Animals
New Research Reveals Beluga Whale Social Networks
JUL 15, 2020
New Research Reveals Beluga Whale Social Networks
The familial and social relationships between whales, such as orcas and bottlenose dolphins, are moderately understood. ...
AUG 28, 2020
Plants & Animals
Will Traps Solve the Invasive Lionfish Problem?
AUG 28, 2020
Will Traps Solve the Invasive Lionfish Problem?
Extravagant and spiny lionfish were once highly sought after by home aquarium hobbyists. These venomous fish are native ...
OCT 07, 2020
Space & Astronomy
Earth-Sized Rogue Planet Found Drifting Through Our Galaxy
OCT 07, 2020
Earth-Sized Rogue Planet Found Drifting Through Our Galaxy
A team of astronomers has found a lone planet the size of Earth drifting through the Milky Way. Known as a ‘rogue ...
OCT 07, 2020
Plants & Animals
Tasmanian Devils Return to Mainland Australia
OCT 07, 2020
Tasmanian Devils Return to Mainland Australia
For the first time in about 3,000 years, Tasmanian devils have returned to mainland Australia. According to a report fro ...
NOV 06, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
The Most Powerful X-ray Source On Earth
NOV 06, 2020
The Most Powerful X-ray Source On Earth
Located inside the Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, New Mexico, the Z Pulsed Power Facility (or Z Machine) i ...
Loading Comments...