The New England Journal of Medicine published the results of a study that showed kids who were exposed to the extensive range of microbes, fungi, and bacteria found on farms were at a significantly lower risk of asthma than kids who don’t have the exposure. According to the study, farm kids have a 30% to 50% lower chance of contracting asthma and allergies.

The study was done on 933 European children by comparing asthma rates of farm kids to those of non-farm kids. The German research team headed up by Markus Ege of Munich University Children’s Hospital did a DNA analysis of dust samples from the children’s mattresses. They also analyzed dust samples taken from other parts of the rooms and revealed the major difference in microbial, bacterial, and fungal content.

Ege says that, while some germs and microbe pose a health risk, the human body depends on other microbes to function properly. About 90% of the cells in the human body are microbial cells that help the body do things like digest food.

Although scientists don’t understand how the exposure to so many different germs fight against disease. The theory, according to Ege, is that exposure to these germs educate the immune system concerning what it should or should not attack. Ege states that, because the human body’s immune system works by a germ eat germ principle, the good microbes may be able to push out disease causing germs that would cause disease and illness if they were to stay in the body.