Sunshine may help to prevent allergies and eczema

A scientific study carried out by the European Centre for the Environment and Human Health and some Australian institutions have found that increased exposure to sunlight can reduce the risk of food allergies and eczema in children.

Using data from children across Australia they found a link between latitude and egg and peanut allergy, as well as analysing sunlight and allergy statistics. Those in the south of the country with lower levels of sunlight are twice as likely to develop eczema or food allergies than those in the higher UV north.

Australia spans nearly 3,000 miles from north to south, over the equator, with a large variation in climate, making it a good place to test the hypothesis that sunlight, which provides the skin with the fuel to create vitamin D, may play a role in food allergies and eczema.

Dr Nick Osborne who led the research cautioned that other factors must be taken into consideration, and further research factoring temperature, infectious disease and vitamin D is on the cards. Nonetheless, the study provides an important insight into the prevalence of food allergies and eczema, which are on the increase.

Source: European Centre for the Environment and Human Health

February 2012

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