Allergies – from pollen, to latex, peanuts and pets – are responsible for 20,000 hospital visits in England every year, but previous generations did not suffer the same problems.
Many theories have tried to explain this epidemic, but today’s scientists think they have discovered the true reason.
On BBC Two’s Horizon it is revealed that bacteria living on our skin is key to fighting allergies, but that changes to our modern lifestyle have significantly decreased the number of these essential microorganisms.
Two allergic families – who between them suffer from asthma, hay fever, eczema, and nut, peanut and dust mite allergies to name a few – were put to the test.
Scientists collected bacterial swabs of their skin, faeces, and their homes in order to test for the number of bacteria they come into contact with on a daily basis.