The big city has its draws, no doubt. But your immunity isn’t one of them. New research published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology shows that when it comes to immune system health and allergies, countryside living is a lot more amenable.
The Aarhus University research posits that people who live on a countryside, like farmers, are exposed to more bacteria, fungi, and pollen, which triggers a response that protects them against hypersensitivity to these irritants.
“The assumption was that only persons who had lived in farming areas while growing up would benefit from the environment's protective effect on the immune system,” says postdoc researcher Grethe Elholm. “But now we can demonstrate that it's not too late simply because you are an adult.”
It seems strange, but living in an environment where you’re exposed to more irritants could actually be good for your health by way of building up immunity to these irritants. If you’re in need of an immune system boost, some time in the countryside could do you much better than a smog-infested city.
The researchers warn, however, that if you’re prone to lung conditions, then country living probably isn’t for you. They would “become more ill due to the high concentrations of dust and particles found in stables and in agriculture in general,” says Elholm.
But if you’re healthy enough for it, even a vacation in the country could do your immune system a lot of good.