Hygiene Hypothesis Analysis

Hygiene Hypothesis Analysis


Researchers have been inspired by the increasing incidence asthma and other allergic diseases to conduct a study to understand the main cause and provide possible solutions to the problems identified. On this paper,I will discuss in deep aspect on the available knowledge about asthma and other allergic diseases. According to the researcher the aim of the study is to show the relationship between the hygiene hypothesis and the increasing prevalence of asthma and other allergic diseases. The hypothesis argues thatexpose to dirt assist in strengthening the immune system and lower the chances of asthma and allergic diseases infection.

This hypothesis is based onepidemiology data to show that there is the correlation between high infection of asthma and allergic diseases and high socio-economic level.The underlying mechanism in asthma and allergic diseases are complex and multiple. These mechanismsincludes a reduced consumption of immune regulation and homeostatic factor that involve several regulatory T cells and toll like receptor stimulation. These mechanism could have originate from change in micro biota as a result of thechange in lifestyle. These data open a new perspective in the prevention of asthma and allergic diseases.


Notably, asthma and allergic diseases pose a threat to the mankind. According to statistics, it is estimated that around 300 million people are infected with asthma and other allergic diseases worldwide.  Annually, more than 25000 death result after infection these diseases. In United States alone,there are about 34.1 million people who are diagnosed with asthma and other allergic diseases. More than 70 percent of people diagnosed with asthma also have allergies. It is estimated by The American academy of allergy asthma and immunology that,by the year 2025, more than 100 million people will be diagnosed with asthma. Asthma a considered as the third reason for hospitalization of children who are below the 15 years of age as according to statistics, 29 percent of children were diagnosed with asthma by the year 2007.

On this paper I will use hygiene hypothesis to explain the biological basis of asthma and allergic diseases. This research will be based on the hygiene hypothesis to focus on developing a deep of asthma and allergic diseases in terms of diseases form, structure, growth and development and behaviour. I will expound the value and application in public health (Velasquez-manoff, 2012, p. 96).


According to the International Study of Asthma and allergy children in countries such as the United Kingdom, New Zealand and Australia have the highest percentage of asthma diagnosis.  The prevalence is much higher in those countries as compared to recorded asthma case in Central Africa, china and Eastern Europe. The main cause of allergyis genetic factors although the environment has contributed to the increased cases of asthma.

Allergy composes of a group of syndrome. Allergy is characterised with immediate hypersensitivity reaction to intradermal allergens, increased bronchial reaction and increased serum IgE to inhaled allergens. However, in some people with asthma are not infected with other allergic diseases. Asthma is a syndrome characterised by extreme narrowing of the bronchi. Asthma is relieved after treatment anti-inflammatory or bronchodilator drugs asthma reveals itself through wheeze, cough and dyspnoea that occurs periodically over time. Chronic asthma that is accompanied by frequent symptoms is characterised by an incomplete reversibility of airflow. This occurs irrespective of high dosage treatment with corticosteroids and bronchodilators. Allergic asthma occurs when there is an excessive IgE in the body. Extrinsic and atopic asthma have an ultimate cause which is linked to the hygienic hypothesis.

The immune system of the body fights bacterial, viral and parasitic caused infections and detect the presence of foreign substances such as allergen in the body. Allergen presence in the body triggers the immune system to release macrophages to produce antibody to attack it. IgE produced by the antibody attaches to the mast of the cell, causing it to burst as a result of production of histamine. Inflammation and symptoms of allergy reveals later. Inflammatory cells receive the asthma disease and acts as the main recipientof bacteria that are responsible of production of inflammatory mediators. Eosinophil antibody is responsible for the hyper responsiveness of the asthma.

Factors that contribute to the prevalence of asthma are classified into preventable and non-preventable factors.  Preventable risk include air pollution, tobacco exposure, physical activities, exposure to allergens and immunization, while non-preventable risks factors include birth weight, family history, sex and infection. Interestingly, most cases of asthma are caused by preventable factors. The main cause of asthma and allergic diseases is not yet comprehended despite research and studies that have been undertaken. The rising cases of asthma infection is caused by the exposure to high level of allergens as a result of change in lifestyle such as the use of soft furnishings and air conditioners. According to a research conducted on children argued that their exposure to livestock reduced the prevalence of asthma, supporting hygienic hypothesis claims that less or no exposure to allergen cause hypersensitivity to allergens(Sachs, 2007, p. 85).

David Strachan developed the hygiene hypothesis and argued that exposure to allergens such as allergies and asthma is linked to reduced exposure to germs. He argued that continued exposure and under-stimulation in countries that are developing, the immune system overcomes harmful substances that lead to the development of allergies. He further explained that if a person is exposed to infections at an early age, the immune system develops resulting into reduced chances of getting asthma and allergic diseases. Development of a cleaner lifestyle causes the body not to need to fight germs shifting the immune system to shift away from fighting infection thus leading to an increase allergic tendency.

Research conducted by The International Study of Asthma and Allergy in Childhood, compared asthma symptoms among countries found 15 fold variation. Epidemiological data were consistent with the hygiene hypothesis. The research found that countries that speak English had higher incidence of asthma and allergic diseases. Children born and raised fromwealthy families have a higher incidence of skin allergies and other skin diseases than children who are exposed to infection in their local daycare. This is a supporting evidence to the claims of the hypothesis that high exposure to bacteria stimulates the development of the immune of the children.

However the assumption that once a child immune system develops cannot be changed is challenged by Duowe, who believed that the immune system is not fixed and is prone to change throughout a human’s lifetime. The biggest challenge is to identify the contributing factors that will correspond to the hygiene hypothesis in fighting against asthma and allergic diseases (Rook, 2009, p.125).

Application of Hygiene hypothesis to public health

The analysis of the hygiene hypothesis provides the reader with a helpful guidelines and information that is valuable in controlling and managing asthma and other allergic diseases. The broad and deep understanding of asthma and allergic diseases assist in preventing infection and provide a possibility of getting a cure. According toresearch conducted on understanding the strategies of the immune system for the purposes of prevention and treatment of asthma, came to understand that stimulation of the immune system lead to Th 1 and Tr response. A vaccine was made and used on animals to observe the response of the Th1. After this experiment, it was concluded that asthma and allergic diseases can be prevented through stimulation of the immune system to cause Th1 and Tr respond. The results of this experiment are under consideration for possible trial on human beings to cure asthma and allergic diseases on mankind.



The prevalence of asthma and allergic disease is warning not only to life but also cost the society and the economy. Asthma has led to costly hospitalization of both children and adult. This has forced government and health organizations to research and study in deep and broad on the causes and possible solutions to asthma and allergic diseases.  The hygiene hypothesis provides a ground for comprehending the disease through the argument that extensive exposure to dirt can be important in stimulating the immune system of the body. Exposer to preventable risk factors can’t be eliminated but can be limited to reduce incidences of asthma and allergic diseases. Experiments have confirmed that stimulation of the immune system leads to Th1 and Tr response that reduce the chance of asthma and allergic disease. However, the greatest challenges in creating a factor that will lead to acceptance of the hygiene hypothesis for a free asthma and allergic disease world.


Rook, G. A. W. (2009). The hygiene hypothesis and Darwinian medicine. Basel: Birkhäuser.

Sachs, J. S. (2007). Good germs, bad germs: Health and survival in a bacterial world. New           York: Hill and Wang.

Velasquez-manoff, M. (2012). An Epidemic of Absence: A New Way of Understanding      Allergies and Autoimmune Diseases. Simon & Schuster.