This spring, loads of microscopic plant sperm cells are finding their way into our nasal passages and unleashing the hell on earth that is seasonal allergies. Allergic rhinitis — a.k.a. seasonal allergies — affects upward of 30 percent of the worldwide population.
There isn’t a clear-cut answer to why some people have them while others don’t, but scientists do have one particular guess. The hygiene hypothesis is the idea that our exceedingly sterile environments are contributing to the development of allergies, asthma, and other autoimmune illnesses.
Kids in wealthy countries lack exposure to allergens and other germs that aid in developing a healthy and functioning immune system. One study found that children who grew up on farms are less likely to get allergies. Even with this new information, however, there is still much left to be researched on these claims.
While this isn't a call to action to stop cleaning your homes or go live on a farm, the hygiene hypothesis does offer a starting point on how our environments might be affecting our allergies. Check out the video to learn more.