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For the Love of Food

Water
Image by alexis22578 via Flickr

Some people are irate with foodies. They find their expensive taste trite with adjectives and insulting to the common man. They are fed up hearing from Alice Waters and Michael Pollan with their organic, free-range fare.

I am tired of having to scour over ingredient lists ensuring that there is at least one thing I can pronounce. I am tired of having to wonder about food security as more and more things come from overseas when there are places in my state (Oregon and Michigan) that can prepare the same things. I am tired of buying local when the product is from a CAFO and when I open it up, it’s rank with age.

I am tired of learning about all the foods that cause cancer in their production and consumption. I am even more tired when a friend loses another loved one to breast cancer because they live in an area where “conventional” agriculture is the norm.

We need food to nourish us. We use food as a way to stay connected with those we care about in the form of shared meals. Why shouldn’t we enjoy it?

Sure, it’s an irony when we describe a meal to a fellow foodie, and we find ourselves apologizing for the “conventional” items on our selves or in the dish – holding ourselves to a higher standard but neglecting to forgive ourselves because of budget realities.

I would rather enjoy the food I eat. I would rather explore and enjoy combinations like fresh spinach, goat cheese, and eggs, scrambled or made into an omelet. I would rather experiment with spicy rice, onions, and tomatoes, after having fabulous combinations at the local Mexican restaurant. I would rather make my own, hearty, whole wheat bread than eat the fluffy, rubbery cardboard you can buy in the store (yea, even the good stuff).

There is something magical knowing I created the yummy scents that are emitted from my kitchen. There is something empowering about turning a fresh mushroom into a delicacy. There is something magical about adhering rice and veggies with an egg when I make my own fried rice. There is something magical about realizing that, yes, I can cook and yes, I do care about the ingredients. Be it because of politics or the joy of cooking. Think me trite, if you must, but I will gladly serve you a slice of my bread and make you a homemade meal, nearly anytime.

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If You’re Not in the Queue

Millenium Walkway
Image by alexis22578 via Flickr

“If you’re not in the queue, you won’t get served!” chirped the brunette with horn-rimmed glasses behind the counter. She said this to a perky blond in her 40s, who I assumed was from Texas. I was in England. I had just navigated my way through Heathrow down to the Underground. I was properly in the queue, waiting my turn to ask my questions and buy my tickets.

I was reminded of that philosophy today while in line at the doctor’s office. I had to set up my June appointment. When I got out of my appointment, there was a lengthy line. So, I walked, patiently, to the end of the line. I obediently stayed my distance behind folks in front of me, and I obediently waited behind the sign instructing me to “WAIT HERE.”

See, doctor offices have gotten much pickier since HIPPA rolled out in 2003. It was explained to me that the law was only adding a bureaucratic layer to what doctor offices were already doing. But, privacy certainly became much more important and at the forefront of doctor-patient-staff interactions. Forms had to be signed acknowledging privacy given and received, signs were placed instructing large personal space protections. We like our English heritage and the use of the queue.

But, some people still protest the queue. Like the woman with her son, in a wheel chair. I visit an endocrinologist for my Grave’s Disease. My endocrinologist is housed in the Arlene Schnitzer Diabetes Clinic at OHSU. We kindly refer to him as the “Bus Doctor” because there is this fabulous “bus” toy for all ages under 6. I assumed, with the lethargic, slooped stated of the boy that he was in some sort of diabetic coma.When she wheeled her son out of the office area, she neglected to get back in line opting for hovering in front of the desk – in front of the “STAND BEHIND ME” sign.

Then, the person in front of me moved away from the front desk, and I heard the gal behind the front desk politely scolded, nodding towards me, “She was waiting before you.”

When I got to the counter, the front desk gal explained that she couldn’t be rude. You don’t have to only yell at someone, though, to get a point across. I think she did okay by reminding the distracted mom that I was waiting, in the correct spot, long before her. I told the front desk gal about my London experience. She was very amused, but didn’t think she could do that.

I guess that’s why I’m fascinated with NVC now. A tool, a compassionate tool to allow us to tell people what we think. A tool that presumes reactions, room for reactions, and redressing of those reactions to clarify our original positions. A compassionate tool that allows for error assuming good intentions.

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Sleep v. Balance & Exercise

I rarely get “enough” sleep. Since high school, I’ve averaged 4-6 hours of sleep at night. Every few days, I will either take a nap or catch up on the rest of the sleep by going to bed early. Last night was one of those nights when I went to bed early.

You may recall that our FOUR-year old (omigodicantbelieveit) had a birthday and party yesterday. The two friends he named to attend couldn’t do the weekend before or after, so we settled on my choice which was Thursday, the day of his Birthday. Two of the invited four kiddos attended. All boys. All good fun. Lots of energy, and I think the kiddos got along well enough.

Levi had an agenda for his party. He wanted to:

  1. Fight,
  2. Blow bubbles, and
  3. Play with his Christmas Monster Trucks (luckily we have three!).

Why he wanted to fight is beyond me. Blow bubbles was easy: what kid doesn’t like to blow bubbles? And, the monster trucks – well, duh, remote controlled cars? Of course!

The fighting, again, why that was an agenda item is weird to me, was accomplished with his patterned arguments with one friend. The other was left out of the fighting, and he seemed undisturbed by it. Good. No blood, no tears. Good again.

The monster trucks were integrated throughout. We discovered that one monster-truck remote was on the same or similar frequency to the $10 Walgreen’s truck my husband purchased on a whim in the fall – so the one remote could control both!

We forgot about the bubbles during, but this was accomplished in the post-party bath.

Yea, all three agenda items met.

What did it take, though, to accomplish the party? Well, my husband and I should seriously consider the many good tips Mary Jo, a local-professional-organizer, gives in her blog (reSPACEd). But, so far, we don’t and haven’t. That means before an event we have clutter to de-clutter, toys to pick up, and dust bunnies to sweep. All that on top of cleaning the bathroom, finishing the dishes (yes, a daily task I do keep up on, but gets a workout when making lots of cakes), and the ever-present laundry. I did better planning ahead this time, but still lots to do at crunch time, including picking up Levi’s toys while a friend woke up outside the house, still buckled in the car! Too last minute, thank you. So, 4 days of work, while suffering from a very annoying sinus-cold, means Momma was exhausted.

After the party, clean up barely happened. Put the kid to bed, and I followed soon-after. I went to bed at 9:30 pm last night. A record for me. That means I got a solid 7 hours of sleep last night. SEVEN! Maybe even seven and a half! Wow, I felt SO refreshed in the morning. (The cold tossed the re-freshed-ness out after I got to work, but alas, it was something).

My morning thought process dangled on the idea of sleep exhaustion to a decent night sleep every week or two. Well, that’s not a very good idea. So, then, my brain thought, what could I possibly do to get that good of a night’s sleep, every night?

*Eureka!*

Oh, right.

Exercise.

The thing I’ve been avoiding, knowing it’s the one key element missing from life. The one thing I feel like I should make time for but don’t because there are all these other things that have to get done or the world will crumble and fall apart.

Remember, says brain, you have to take care of yourself before you can take care of anyone else. Remember, says brain, your paternal grandmother died of diabetes complications. Remember, says brain, you are proven mortal because 1) you are and 2) you have an auto-immune disease (which diabetes is as well), and 3) you have allergies (re-enter auto-immune issues).

You have to take care of yourself.

I learned something in the last two weeks. I learned I can bring Levi to daycare EARLY and not get charged extra. That means the daycare-to-gym problem is more or less solved. The big brain hitch isn’t a hitch anymore. The number of excuses I have are, well, running out.

Progress. This is progress.

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Girls & Alllergies

Allergies, asthma, and immunicology – a fascinating thing, which strikes me more as I deal with my own allergy autoimmune issues. And, now there is are a series of gender studies that suggest girls are more prone to these issues later in life. NPR reported yesterday on our socialization and how it affects sanitization.

Disease prevention increased with the simple introduction of hand washing. But, now, we are faced with considering that our world is too clean. Cities used to be too dirty, and now they might be too clean (save for vehicle and industrial pollution). It’s an interesting conundrum we face, as a society.

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Double Smoked Bacon

A wood-burning pizza oven baking a pizza.
Look at this nice, controlled fire. I can handle this kind of fire. And, of any uncontrolled fire, I would prefer it to be in our modern oven. But, still scary. Image via Wikipedia

I am writing this at 8:00pm, January 30th, 2011.

“Man,” I thought, “That’s kind of a lot of smoke billowing out from under the teapot.”

The teapot is (nearly) always on the burner that also serves as our electrical stove‘s oven vent.

“That is a lot of smoke.” I am cooking bacon to go with our blueberry pancake dinner. It’s late. I read too long and chatted with my mom a little too long.

I open the oven door. Smoke billows out, but I don’t see anything. So, I close the oven door.

More smoke comes out from the vent. I remember it’s been a while since I last turned on the auto-clean.

I open both kitchen windows. I sort of giggle at our broken smoke alarm (still within, hopefully, it’s warranty period).

Then, I also reflect on last night’s meatloaf that seeped over the sides of the loaf pan. (Note to self, ix-nay the milk in that recipe.)

“Uh, Peter,” I call to my husband who is on the phone with his father. “Will you take a look at this?” I begin to sound panicked.

I open the oven door. Even more smoke billows out. I close it. Then, I see orange.

I shout at Levi to LEAVE the kitchen and go to the living room. Panic mode entering, more.

I open it for him, and now the entire bottom of the oven is caked in flames. I stand, agape, my jaw slack, in frightened awe.

“What do you do with a fire in the oven?” Peter asks his father. Peter repeats, “Smother it.”

I hear, close the oven door. “Right, no oxygen,” clicks my brain as the wheels begin to turn. I turn the oven off.

“Pour water on it,” suggests my husband.

“NO!” I shout!

“My dad says put a towel on it,” offers Peter.

I don’t respond, except by shaking my  head. I stand holding the door closed, as if the flames will leap from around. Suddenly thankful we have a modern stove. With insulation to accommodate the self-clean function. (You know, the function that allows the oven to reach (sometimes) upwards of 900 degrees, Fahrenheit.) Somewhere in the back of my mind, I remember baking soda.

About a minute passes, the smoke from the vent decreases, there is no more orange gleaming. I wait. When the smoke continues to dwindle, I cautiously open the oven door – no flames.

But, oh, there is smoke. Everywhere, there is smoke. Mostly, of course, in the kitchen. So, I open more windows. I instruct Peter to open some, and help with the fans. I demand the doors remain open. That was a lot of smoke.

It’s now, about an hour later. The double-smoked bacon tastes pretty good. I wouldn’t recommend the cooking though: buy smoked bacon, heat oven to 425, ensure bottom is greasy, wait 7 minutes, let the fire do the work. No, I could definitely do with NOT repeating this adventure.

How to Put Out Kitchen Fires

When a fire starts in the kitchen, you need to act fast to keep the fire from getting out of control. But how you act depends on what kind of fire you have and where it is. Follow these instructions for putting out kitchen fires:

  • If you have a fire in the oven or the microwave, close the door or keep it closed, and turn off the oven. Don’t open the door! The lack of oxygen will suffocate the flames.
  • If your oven continues to smoke like a fire is still going on in there, call the fire department.
  • If you have a fire in a cooking pan, use an oven mitt to clap on the lid, then move the pan off the burner, and turn off the stove. The lack of oxygen will stop the flames in a pot.
  • If you can’t safely put the lid on a flaming pan or you don’t have a lid for the pan, use your fire extinguisher. Aim at the base of the fire — not the flames.
  • Never use water to put out grease fires! Water repels grease and can spread the fire by splattering the grease. Instead, try one of these methods:
    • If the fire is small, cover the pan with a lid and turn off the burner.
    • Throw lots of baking soda or salt on it. Never use flour, which can explode or make the fire worse.
    • Smother the fire with a wet towel or other large wet cloth.
    • Use a fire extinguisher.
  • Don’t swat at a fire with a towel, apron, or other clothing. You’re likely to fan the flames and spread the fire.
  • If the fire is spreading and you can’t control it, get everyone out of the house and call 911! Make sure everybody in your family knows how to get out of the house safely in case of a fire. Practice your fire escape route.

Read more: http://www.dummies.com/how-to/content/how-to-put-out-kitchen-fires.html#ixzz1CaGz5fPH

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Allergies, Asthma & Your Immune System

Farm Shot
My brother, his daughter, and The Farm. Image by alexis22578 via Flickr

It was the year 2000. I was chatting with my favorite professor (or soon to be) after the MSU class. We did this occasionally. Since, I love idea swapping and learning all that I can, and my friend enjoyed sharing all the various things he knows, it was a good combination. We’d go to Crunchy’s. He’d have 2 or 3 beers. I’d struggle with one and a half. We’d talk all sorts of ponderings and meanderings in modern philosophy. Utah Phillips, Politics, the length of a cold, extra education from the class I took. The recurring themes: religion, environment, and how it all meshes with politics.

These conversations had a large influence on what I believe or choose to believe of religion and how I justify my understanding of it and especially the words within. These conversations also helped shape or give ideas and momentum to my environmental passions.

One of these conversations centered, albeit briefly, on the difference between allergy and asthma in city kids compared to kids who live in the country. Six or seven years later, I wrote about it for one of my final Sustainable Urban Development classes. The idea that we are building up our immune system by subjecting ourselves to “untidy” animals was and is fascinating to me.

My mother grew up with nine other siblings. They lived on a 160 acre farm (80 acres on one side of the highway, 80 on another) with their parents, my grandparents. My grandfather worked at the Munising Paper Mill (until he retired), planted and sold potatoes “on the side”, and my grandmother tended the garden (although she hated it) all the while my grandfather was at work. Their garden preserved the family through winter with most essentials. My grandmother made 16 loaves of bread weekly. They milked their own cows and pasteurized the milk on the counter. They’d make their own butter, slaughter their own meat, preserve their own food. They farmed. One year, they shelled so many beans not only was the kitchen sink full but so was the claw-foot bathtub. There was always an assortment of cows, dogs, cats, and pigs. Less common in my growing up years were horses, poultry, and rabbits. All said, this is The Farm. The Farm is what I consider home.

When I was in fifth grade, I started to itch and loose my breath around cats. I had been 3 years away from my constant Home. Although we didn’t live with my grandparents, we were there nearly every weekend until we moved downstate when I was in 2nd grade. Someone told me along the way that body chemistry can change (dramatically) every 7 years. So, the question, always on my brain, was how can my limited farm experience lend itself to moderate to severe cat allergies. Now, this past summer (of 2010), I was tested for allergies. The doctor did a scratch test of over 40 common allergens to the Pacific Northwest and the Midwest. I scored a significant reaction on more than half. I have year-round allergies.

So, again, the question begs: what’s the connection? How much of an affect to our sanitized cities have on our reaction to the environment? Am I just an allergic person, written into my DNA? I always thought I came from stout, healthy people – but now I’m not so sure. I have two considerable immune issues that require constant handling. I think that’s fairly significant, even if I’m not overtly bothered on a daily basis.

I think I need a couple of more beers at Crunchy’s washed down with one of their burgers and my friend to ponder this one out.

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Grave’s Disease 2010

Thyroxine, T 4
Image via Wikipedia

To date I have had 18 months of methimazole, 1 radioactive iodine treatment, and more blood tests than I can recall. Each step has decreased my thyroid hormone activity, but I am still hyperthyroid. We’ll check the labs again, and won’t do anything until November (when my year will be up for radioactive iodine), but likely we’ll have to do something again.

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Allergy, Asmtha & Immunology vs. Farm Life

Farm residents with livestock, except poultry, have protection against allergy later in life

Michelle Lasley | Environmental Science & Resources 428, Professor Alan Yeakley

Abstract

There has been a worldwide increase in asthma and allergies over the last half-century. Many studies link this to the Western lifestyle and increased standard of living. In addition, the rise of atopic diseases has been linked to the decline of infectious disease. Furthermore, several studies have linked the use of antibiotics in infancy and early childhood to the prevalence of asthma, eczema, and allergy rhinitis. The post-industrial period saw changes in the development of allergies, increased risk of asthma and allergy rhinitis, or hay fever.

To discuss why these changes are happening, numerous European studies have linked less likelihood to experience allergies if children have parents who are farmers and more specifically children who live on farms in the presence of animals. These children, who live on farms with animals, have decreased adult asthma, allergy rhinitis, and eczema. A New Zealand study found that this was null when children were on farms with poultry. This is important because pediatricians find asthma and allergies, during the late 1970s, to be difficult to treat. Farm environment for children protects against allergic rhinitis and asthma. Exposure to environmental mycobacteria and actinomycetes could be the explanation. If planners could incorporate these findings in urban designs, perhaps symptoms of allergies in children would decrease, increasing the quality of life for all.

Introduction

Society’s quick change from an agrarian society to an industrial society has had many unforeseen affects on the urban landscape, or in the urban ecology. One such unforeseen affect is in allergies. Prior to the Industrial Revolution, there were few documented cases of hay fever, asthma, and other allergies. Victims of allergies can tell you that allergies have a debilitating affect on the sufferer. Because allergies affect every facet of the sufferer’s life, allergy has a direct correlation to Quality of Life (QOL) issues and measurements. As QOL decreases, the potential to treat allergies gets harder.1 Treating allergies and the occurrence of allergies has startling costs to society. Additionally, allergy is so prevalent that new professions have arisen out from this increase and formation of allergy.

With such a wide-ranging affect, it is helpful to know what is included in allergy. Recent papers include in allergies the following types: allergy rhinitis (hay fever), asthma (inflammation of the bronchial tubes), and atopic/eczema/dermatitis syndrome (AEDS) (skin rashes and conditions).2 Several studies over the past two decades indicate a strong correlation between protection against allergies in adulthood and exposure to farm animals, except poultry, as a child. This paper will show the debilitating affect allergy has on young people, a basic introduction on what happens in allergy sufferers; a discussion of the studies showing links between livestock and allergy protection; a discussion of the studies that show an adverse link, especially in regards to poultry; and finally a summary of what was shown with suggestions on where studies should next proceed.

Allergy – Symptoms & Basic History

For one hundred years now, modern science has known that synthetic antihistamine would protect an animal from induced anaphylaxis, meaning that for one hundred years we have known what allergies look like and a basic idea of how to control allergies. Then, about 65 years ago, immunoglobulin E (IgE) was discovered as the acting carrier of ragweed, and later other allergens, the main component whose sensitivity chooses who has allergies and who does not.3 It was learned that allergies occur when people have a hypersensitivity to triggers, and in this instance, ragweed. This sensitivity follows across the board from allergy rhinitis to asthma, and as Leffert describes asthma as an immunologic hypersensitivity, sometimes where emotional stress triggers and exacerbates symptoms. One of the key components of asthma is when antigens sensitive a child and then these antigens trigger an immunologic reaction, i.e. an asthma attack. Likewise, for allergy rhinitis, it would seem that exposure to allergens, the body developing a hypersensitivity to these allergens, and then triggers by the allergens force allergies in the sufferer, i.e. hay fever or sneezing attacks such as when a burst of pollen from sniffing a flower itches the sufferer’s nose.

Through the past 100 years, medicine has continued to study allergy, the causes of allergy, and how to treat allergy. Questionnaires have been issued, studies have been tallied, and the basic findings are that allergies are expensive to treat, can often confound the pediatrician in charge of care, and clearly makes the victim of allergy suffer sometimes year round. Some questions used to decide if someone suffers from allergy are found in Table 4.4 The questionnaires studied for this paper generally follow an if-then format. If the sufferer experiences this symptom, then continue here, if not, go to this place. It is important to differentiate between colds, flu, and actual allergy symptoms. All studies used had a 95% confidence index, suggesting strong credibility.

Livestock as an Allergy Protection

Beginning with studies in the mid-90s, several European scientists in Sweden, the Netherlands, the UK, and other places in Europe, have been curious about the connections to allergies comparing urban and rural children. In the early 19th Century, it was thought that urban children had fewer allergies than rural kids did because at the time, rural places were cleaner than urban places, making exposure to allergens higher in urban places, rather than rural. Modern studies have found the opposite to be true. Ironically, studies from the past twenty years, mostly in Europe, have shown that exposure to farm animals has a protective affect against allergens, especially in regards to allergy rhinitis, or hay fever. Bråbäck illustrates the relationship between occupations and habitat in his 2004 article in Clinical & Experimental Allergy.5 Data is taken from Swiss conscript data from 1952 on. Although occurrences of allergy increased for habitats from both rural and urban dwellings, urban people had a higher increase and the gap between urban and rural grew larger.

Braun-Fahrländer and colleagues found, in 1999, that farming as a parental occupation decreased the risk of children developing symptoms of allergies.6 This paper has been documented in many following, suggesting a leading insight into this allergy conundrum. Braun-Fahrländer and colleagues hypothesized that children growing up on farms were less likely to be sensitized to common allergens and then that they would suffer less from allergic disease. To carry out their study, Braun-Fahrländer and colleagues used the Swiss Study on Childhood Allergy and Respiratory Symptoms with Respect to Air pollution (SCARPOL), a data set used by most of the European studies examined. Methods were a questionnaire at the school health services, a routine visit for the three ages groups studied, and blood samples for the older age groups. Of note in their findings was that farming families had a lower socio-economic status; had more children; had more humidity or visible mold in their home,;used traditional heating such as coal and wood; were more likely to keep furred pets, but the furred pets were less likely to be in the children’s bedroom; had mothers that were less likely to smoke; and had less hay fever, asthma, and eczema in their family history. From their findings, they discussed that the possibility exists that the living in an agricultural environment could provide a model of primary prevention. If this proves to be true, then, these findings could be taken into the urban environment as preventive maintenance for allergy sufferers.

Poultry – An Adverse Affect

Contrasting the European studies, a New Zealand study also looked at farms, children’s exposure to animals, and resistance to allergies as an adult.7 This study found that the children in the sample, their risk increased with exposure to farms. The most striking difference is the New Zealand study had more poultry, or in general poultry farms. The European studies did not, indicating that it is exposure to poultry that either increases or does nothing to the risk of being affected by allergy. Wickens, in Table 5 shows incidence where exposure to poultry nearly doubles the risk of hay fever compared to other triggers studied, such as cats and residence, the farm abode.8 Additionally, this study noted a higher incidence of allergy in regards to pigs and hay fever, farm abode in current allergic rhinitis, farm abode for asthma, and cats (inside or outside) regarding AEDS (skin problems).

The study discusses that all children living on farms had increased risk of all studied forms of allergy: hay fever, allergic rhinitis, asthma, wheezing, and eczema. Of the European studies examined, they concluded that living on farms with livestock had the protective affect against allergy later in life, but the published results did not pare down which animals were on the farms like this New Zealand study. On the other hand, the New Zealand study did not mention animals like cows (a European animal attributed to the protective affect), horses, goats, or other farm mammals besides pigs. Regardless, examining these causes in more detail and from a different vantage point, this study pushes further research to examine more fully which animals actually have the protective affect. If this is not done, one could believe that it may be something in the air in European farms rather than the animals present.

As a rebuttal to the New Zealand study, Braun-Fahrländer points out that having contact with farm animals shows the substantial decrease in the development of hay fever and asthma comparing children living on farms and non-farming children.9 He introduces in this editorial the ALEX study (ALlergy and EndotoXin) where dust samples were obtained from enrolled children and tests were done to see the development of IgE sensitization. Although not well supported, it was this sensitization that farm animals protect against, a known cause of allergy. Subsequently, although growing up on a farm does not suppress the process of IgE sensitization it protects against it. Still, though, animals remain undefined, and the New Zealand study, of the obtained articles, is the only one that specifies which animals were tested against.

Conclusions

In this paper I showed the debilitating affect allergy has on young people, studies showing links between livestock and allergy protection; and studies that show an adverse link in that protection, especially in regards to poultry. Several European studies over the past two decades have shown that when children live on farms with livestock, this experience later in life acts as protection against allergies, allergies that are increasing in society. This is important because of the discomfort and adverse affects to Quality of Life, the costs of health care for the afflicted persons, and the cost of healthcare for the public. If we can pinpoint what causes allergies, what can keep allergies at bay, and lastly how to overcome allergies, we would live in very different places than we do now. To take these findings further would be to introduce them into the planning stage of urban centers. If these findings could be more pinpointed for policy gurus, then we could try to make our cities allergy free. This would allow us to cure or control allergy at a local level with less cost to the individual and public. The next question could be, “Besides livestock, which animals that protect against allergies could be introduced as part of the urban landscape?” We’ve seen that poultry does not, so does that mean we need more dogs? Should every household enjoy the company of a dog, further reducing the need for places such as the Human Society?

References

  • Asher, M.I., U. Keil, H.R. Anderson, et al. 1995. International study of asthma and allergies in childhood (ISAAC): rationale and methods. European Respiratory Journal. 8:483-491.
  • Bråbäck, L., A. Hjern, and F. Rasmussen. 2004. Trends in asthma, allergic rhinitis and eczema among Swedish conscripts form farming and non-farming environments; a nationwide study over three decades. Clinical and Experimental Allergy. 34:38-43.
  • Braun-Fahrländer, C. 2002. Do only European cattle protect from allergies? Allergy. 57:1094-1096.
  • Braun-Fahrländer, C., M. Gassner, L. Grize, et al. 1999. Prevalence of hay fever and allergic sensitization in farmer’s children and their peers living in the same rural community. Clinical and Experimental Allergy. 29:28-34.
  • Emanuel, M. B. 1999. Histamine and the antiallergic antihistamines: a history of their discovers. Clinical and Experimental Allergy. 29(supplement 3):1?11.
  • Gerth van Wijk, R. 2002. Allergy: a global problem; Quality of life. Allergy. 57:1097-1110.
  • Kilpeläinen, M., E.O. Terho, H. Helenius, and M. Koskenvuo. 2000. Farm environment in childhood prevents the development of allergies. Clinical and Experimental Allergy. 30:201-208.
  • Leffert, Fred, M.D. 1978. Asthma: a modern perspective. Pediatrics. 62(6):1061-1069.
  • Wickens, K., J.M. Lane, P. Fitzharris, et al. 2002. Farm Residence and exposures and the risk of allergic diseases in New Zealand children. Allergy. 57-1171-1179.

Tables & Figures

Table 11

Association of physician-diagnosed asthma during a lifetime with background factors in young Finnish adults. Adjustment performed by logistic regression model for all the other factors in the table and parental education.

Total N* Prevalence (%)* Crude OR* 95% CI P-value Adjusted CR† 95% CI P-Value
Place of Residene at Age 0-6 years
Rural non-farm 1,243 5.3 1.00 1.00
Farm 1,095 3.7 0.68 0.45-1.01 NS 0.70 0.46-1.06 NS
Urban 7,276 4.5 0.81 0.64-1.10 NS 0.81 0.61-1.07 NS
Day care outside the home at 0-2 years
No 9,324 4.5 1.00 1.00
Yes 1,127 5.1 1.14 0.86-1.52 NS 1.09 0.80-1.49 NS
Passive smoking at age 0-2 years
No 8,292 4.3 1.00 1.00
Yes 2,257 5.6 1.32 1.07-1.62 <0.01 1.30 1.03-1.64 <0.05
Gender
Male 4,142 5.1 1.00 1.00
Female 6,488 4.2 0.81 0.67-0.97 <0.05 0.72 0.59-0.88 <0.01
Parents’ asthma or atopy
No 6,258 2.9 1.00 1.00
Yes 4,299 6.39 2.46 2.04-2.97 <0.001 2.32 1.89-2.84 <0.001
Number of older siblings
0 5,672 4.9 1.00 1.00
1 3,597 4.3 0.88 0.72-1.08 NS 0.94 0.76-1.17 NS
2 920 4 0.82 0.58-1.16 NS 0.91 0.62-1.33 NS
3 256 3.5 0.71 0.36-1.40 NS 0.74 0.36-1.53 NS
?4 144 3.5 0.70 0.29-1.73 NS 0.90 0.36-2.25 NS

* Using all available information.

For subjects with complete data on all the background variables.

1 M. Kilpeläinen, E.O. Terho, H. Helenius, and M. Koskenvuo. “Farm environment in childhood prevents the development of allergies” in Clinical and Experimental Allergy. 2000. 30:201-208.

Table 21

Association of physician-diagnosed allergic rhinitis and/or allergic conjunctivitis during a lifetime with background factors in young Finnish adults. Adjustment performed by logistic regression model for all the other factors in the table and parental education.

Total N* Prevalence (%)* Crude OR* 95% CI P-value Adjusted CR† 95% CI P-Value
Place of residence at Age 0-6 years
Rural non-farm 1,243 20.80 1.00 1.00
Farm 1,095 13.90 0.61 0.49-0.77 <0.001 0.63 0.50-0.79 <0.001
Urban 7,276 22.40 1.10 0.95-1.27 NS 1.08 0.92-1.26 NS
Day care outside the home at 0-2 years
No 9,324 20.50 1.00 1.00
Yes 1,127 25.20 1.30 1.13-1.51 <0.001 1.22 1.04-1.42 <0.05
Passive smoking at age 0-2 years
No 8,292 21.00 1.00 1.00
Yes 2,257 20.60 0.98 0.87-1.09 NS 1.03 0.91-1.17 NS
Gender
Male 4,142 21.90 1.00 1.00
Female 6,488 20.20 0.90 0.82-0.99 <0.05 0.82 0.74-0.91 <0.001
Parents’ asthma or atopy
No 6,258 15.40 1.00 1.00
Yes 4,299 28.90 2.23 2.03-2.45 <0.001 2.25 2.03-2.49 <0.001
Number of older siblings
0 5,672 22.30 1.00 1.00
1 3,597 19.50 0.85 0.76-0.94 <0.01 0.86 0.77-0.96 <0.01
2 920 20.40 0.89 0.75-1.06 NS 0.99 0.82-1.19 NS
3 256 19.80 0.86 0.63-1.17 0.99 0.71-1.37 NS
?4 144 9.00 0.35 0.20-0.61 <0.001 0.47 0.26-.84 <0.05

* Using all available information.

For subjects with complete data on all the background variables.

Table 32

Association of respiratory and allergic symptoms and allergic sensitization with farming as a parental occupation.

Symptom prevalence accounting to parental occupation Association with farming as parental occupation
Total study population (n,%) Farming (n,%) Non-Farming (n,%) Crude OR (95%, CI) Adjusted3 OR (95%, CI)
Questionnaire (N = 1620)
Repeated cough 594/36.7 103/33.6 491/37.4 0.85 (0.65-1.10) 0.90 (0.63-1.29)
Bronchitis 156/9.6 31/10.1 125/9.5 1.07 (0.71-1.62) 1.37 (0.77-2.40)
Wheeze 135/8.3 16/5.2 119/9.1 0.55 (0.33-0.94) 0.77 (0.38-1.58)
Asthma (ever) 150/9.3 24/7.8 126/9.6 0.80 (0.51-1.26) 1.17 (0.64-2.13)
Sneezing during pollen season 125/7.7 8/2.6 117/8.9 0.27 (0.14-0.54) 0.34 (0.12-0.89)
Hay fever (ever) 197/12.2 22/7.2 175/13.3 0.50 (0.32-0.79) 0.89 (0.49-1.59)
Itchy skin rash (ever) 193/12.0 27/8.9 166/12.7 0.67 (0.41-1.02) 0.86 (0.49-1.50)
Eczema (ever) 305/18.8 48/15.6 257/19.6 0.76 (0.54-1.07) 1.15 (0.74-1.81)
Serological test2 (N=404)
Positive SX1 test (CAP-class?2) 139/34.4 16/18.6 123/38.7 0.33 (0.18-0.59) 0.31 (0.13-0.73)
Specific IgE’s to outdoor allergens (CAP class?2) 119/29.5 15/17.4 104/32.7 0.43 (0.24-0.78) 0.38 (0.16-0.87)
Specific IgE’s to indoor allergens (CAP class?2) 81/20.1 4/4.7 77/24.2 0.15 (0.06-0.38) 0.15 (0.04-0.57)

1 During the past 12 months if not otherwise specified.

2 318 serological tests were done in children from non-farming families, 86 in farmers’ children.

3 The logistic regression model included the following variables: age, sex, parental education, a family history of asthma, hay fever, eczema, number of siblings, maternal smoking, pet ownership, indoor humidity, study area, and heating fuels.

Table 43

SAMPLE – Core questionnaire rhinitis module for 13-14-year-olds NOT INCLUDED

Table 54

Adjusted odds ratios for the association between various exposures and having hay fever ever, allergic rhinitis in the last 12 months, asthma ever, wheeze in the last 12 months, atopic eczema/dermatitis syndrome (AEDS) ever, and skin prick test (SPT) positivity

n (293) Hay fever ever Current allergic rhinitis Asthma ever Current wheeze AEDS ever SPT positivity
First year of life
Farm abode 94 1.3 (0.4-3.9) 0.5 (0.2-1.2) 0.7 (0.3-1.8) 0.5 (0.2-1.4) 0.7 (0.3-1.8) 1.3 (0.5-3.6)
Regular poultry 36 1.8 (0.5-6.6) 2.0 (.07-5.9) 2.7 (0.9-7.7)* 2.1 (0.7-6.6) 3.7 (1.3-0.7)** 1.1 (0.4-3.5)
Regular pig 29 0.4 (0.1-1.9) 0.6 (0.2-2.0) 1.0 (0.3-3.3) 0.6 (0.2-2.3) 0.6 (0.2-1.8) 0.2 (0.1-0.9)**
Cats inside or outside 223 0.4 (0.1-1.0)** 1.4 (0.6-3.1) 1.4 (0.6-3.1) 1.0 (0.4-2.4) 0.4 (0.2-0.8)*** 0.6 (0.3-1.3)
Dogs inside or outside 185 0.5 (0.2-1.3) 0.7 (0.4-1.4) 0.4 (0.2-0.8)*** 0.6 (0.3-1.2)* 0.8 (0.4-1.5) 0.8 (0.4-1.6
Current exposures
Farm abode 95 1.3 (0.4-3.9) 2.7 (1.0-6.9)*** 2.0 (0.8-5.2) 1.9 (0.7-6.6) 1.7 (0.7-4.1) 0.8 (0.2-1.7)
Regular poultry 45 2.2 (0.7-7.0) 1.5 (0.6-3.8) 0.8 (0.3-2.0) 1.0 (0.4-2.6) 0.5 (0.2-1.2) 2.8 (1.0-6.9)**
Regular pig 22 2.8 (.6-12.2) 1.0 (0.3-3.6) 0.7 (0.2-2.3) 1.6 (0.4-5.9) 0.7 (0.2-2.2) 3.3 (0.9-11.8)*
Cats inside or outside 234 0.7 (0.3-1.9) 1.0 (0.5-2.2) 1.5 (0.7-3.3) 0.9 (0.4-2.1) 2.8 (1.3-6.1)*** 1.4 (0.6-3.3)
Dogs inside or outside 214 1.5 (0.5-4.0) 1.0 (0.5-2.2) 1.6 (0.8-3.5) 1.5 (0.7-3.4) 1.3 (0.6-2.7) 2.0 (0.9-4.3)
Geomean endotoxin 0.9 (0.6-1.2) 1.0 (0.8-1.3) 0.9-0.7-1.2) 1.2 (0.9-1.5) 1.0 (0.8-1.3) 1.0 (0.8-1.3)
Diet at < 2 years
Yoghurt once or more a week 225 0.3 (0.1-0.7)*** 0.3 (0.1-0.7)*** 1.1 (0.6-2.4) 1.1 (0.4-2.3) 0.6 (90.3-1.20) 0.8(0.4-1.7)
Unpasteurized milk ever 38 1.1 (0.2-5.0) 0.3 (0.1-1.1)* 0.7 (0.2-2.4) 0.6 (0.2-0.8) 0.2 9 (0.1-2.20**) 0.6 (0.2-1.9)
Pasteurized milk once or more a day 192 1.7 (0.7-4.6) 1.5 (0.7-3.3) 1.3 (0.6-2.7) 1.1 (0.5-2.5) 1.4 (0.7-3.00) 0.8 (0.4-1.7)
Cheese once or more a week 200 2.1 (0.8-5.6) 1.3 (0.6-2.8) 1.1 ()0.6-2.4) 1.4 (0.5-3.3) 1.3 (0.6-2.7) 0.7 (0.3-1.4)

* P = < 0.10

** P = < 0.05

*** P = < 0.01

Adjusted for all variables in table, plus gender, ethnicity, mother’s education level, family history of allergic disease, family size, antibiotic use in first year, mother’s smoking in the first year and currently, coal and wood fires in the fires year and currently, having a history of measles and whooping-cough infection and current dairy food consumption.

Per unit increase in endotoxin per gram of dust.

Figures

Not Included