The hygiene hypothesis and childhood asthma in Orange County, North Carolina Public Deposited

Downloadable Content

Download PDF
Last Modified
  • March 22, 2019
  • Ward, Ashley R.
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Geography
  • This thesis examines childhood asthma in Orange County, North Carolina and its relationship to the Hygiene Hypothesis. The Hygiene Hypothesis challenges traditionally held views on hygiene and asserts that decreased exposures to microbes during an infant’s first year of life results in the poor development of the immune system. According to this hypothesis, the lack of development in the immune system is at least partially responsible for the increasing number of autoimmune disorders, asthma being one of them. In addition to the cross-sectional analysis, spatial analysis is used to determine spatial patterning or clustering of childhood asthma cases in the county. A cross-sectional study was conducted including 427 households (1000 children). First and fourth grade households were surveyed via the Orange County School System. Geographic information was voluntarily collected on each household that participated. The results of the survey demonstrate that the primary factors impacting childhood asthma in Orange County are genetics, premature birth, daycare attendance, and urban/suburban living. Spatial analysis reveals areas of high prevalence in the county but clusters of questionable significance.
Date of publication
Resource type
Rights statement
  • In Copyright
  • Meade, Melinda S.
Degree granting institution
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Open access

This work has no parents.