5 reasons modern living may cause allergies
One in three of us suffer from allergies.
Allergies cause over 20,000 people in England to visit hospital every year. Horse hair, egg, grass pollen, dog and cat hair, peanuts, shellfish, dust mites and latex allergies, grain, dairy, soya, gluten the list of allergies and intolerances in our modern world goes on.
What are allergies?
Your body’s overreaction to allergens to things that don’t cause problems for most people, causing symptoms such as rashes, itchy watery eyes, congestion, difficulty breathing. The severity of reactions differs drastically from mild irritation to fatalities with 3 people dying from asthmas attacks in the UK each day.
This growing epidemic in allergies and autoimmune disorders, like eczema, asthma, hayfever, psiorisis, Crohn’s disease and urticaria, is connected to our modern living epidemiological studies report. Generations before us and developing countries have not suffered from allergies in the same way, so what is it in our wealthy urbanised lifestyles that is causing this allergy explosion, particularly in our children?
BBC 2’s Horizon explores our relationship with micro-bacteria and the link to allergies in their latest episode: BBC2 Horizon Allergies: Modern Life and Men and despite some mixed messages about what will help to improve our conditions it is well worth a watch. For the steps to take to improve Eczema in children see, Leafie’s Eczema essentials for long term healing.
5 top reasons modern living is causing allergies
Our modern day lifestyle is profoundly changing the makeup of microbes in our intricate gut eco system, which we depend on for preventing illness and maintaining health. Here are the most important challenges linked to poor health and dramatic increase in allergies particularly in our children:
Prolific antibiotic use
Overuse of antibiotics is rife, for example the average child in America has taken three courses of antibiotics by the time he or she is 2 years old. Antibiotics are a major advance designed to tackle illnesses but also damage our harmless beneficial microbes within our digestive system leaving us vulnerable to infections, causing imbalance in our protective gut environment putting us at risk of developing allergies such as eczema and asthma.
Increase Cesarean Section deliveries.
The first year of life is critical to long term health and allergy prevention. A natural birth is a baby’s first introduction to beneficial microbes as it emerges sterile from the womb through the birthing canal he or she is coated with significant numbers of diverse beneficial micro-bacteria. This is no accident, this is natures clever technique to begin our symbiotic relationship with friendly microorganisms designed to protect is from illness and disease. The 25% of babies born by c-section in the UK not exposed to these essential microbiota are much more likely to develop specific allergic conditions during childhood, including asthma.
Low breastfeeding rates
Research is clear that breastfed babies receive irreplaceable nutrients and beneficial bacteria designed to line their delicate intestines providing invaluable immune system protection. However, the stats show dismally low breastfeeding rates in our wealthy modern cultures, with many mothers unaware of the vital health benefits and some even convinced that chemical formula feeding is a healthier or equal sustenance option.
Our highly processed convenience food culture, big in carbohydrates, sugars and hydrogenated fats and low in raw ingredients, nutrients, vitamins, essential fatty acids, GOODfats and enzymes is having a long term impact on our health. By changing our gut environment our modern diet is creating imbalance to our diverse intestine eco system that is essential for our health and our body’s ability to respond to exposure to daily environmental irritants. Alejandro Junger’s book Clean Gut explores the significance of gut health for sustaining life-long health as do a number of scientific studies, see Gastrointestinal microbiota article extract.
Disconnect with outdoors
We spend an alarming 85-90% of our time indoors and many children rarely visit a woodland, farm, forest or bridle path to explore, get muddy and come into contact with nature’s micro-organisms friends. Our hygiene and sterile living environments from our over zealous sanitation culture significantly reduce our contact with natural environmental microbiota.