Publication Date

Spring 5-7-2014


School of Health Sciences


Nursing (B.S.N.)


Hygiene Hypothesis, Microbial Exposure, Strachan, Asthma, Nursing Practice


Family Practice Nursing | Pediatric Nursing | Public Health and Community Nursing


The incidence of asthma has risen significantly in recent decades. Asthma is a complex disease process affected by multiple factors including environmental exposure, genetics, epigenetics, and lifestyle. In 1989, the hygiene hypothesis was proposed based on Strachan’s findings suggesting increased exposure to microbes may have protective benefits against allergic rhinitis and eczema. Since that time, research in this arena has exploded as investigators seek to establish a causal link between increased microbial exposure and decreased incidence of allergic disease. The aim of this literature review is to synthesize the current research regarding Strachan’s hygiene hypothesis and identify the nursing implications of this theory, particularly in regards to patient care and education of pediatric clients and their families.