Your pet may fetch the morning paper for you, or may just
be a great lap companion and good friend. Did you know that
your pet might also help reduce the likelihood your children
will develop allergies?
Pets have been said to raise or lower a child's risk for
allergies, depending on whom you talk with. To investigate
the relationship between infants' exposure to pets and allergies
later in life, close to 500 babies were followed from birth
until 6-7 years of age in a recent study in the Journal
of the American Medical Association. The children were
tested for both indoor (dog, cat, dust mite) and outdoor (blue
grass, ragweed) allergies using a skin prick and a blood test.
Any exposure to two or more cats or dogs before age 1 significantly
reduced risk for allergies at age 6-7. For both the skin prick
and blood tests, more than twice as many children with no
dog or cat exposure as an infant tested positive for an allergy
than kids who had been around two or more pets. After considering
other factors like parental smoking and bedroom allergen levels,
two or more pets reduced the odds for allergies about 75%
based on the skin prick and 67% based on the blood test.
introducing your babies to dogs and cats early on, you may
lower their chances for developing annoying allergies down
the road. Children with allergies are also more prone to develop
asthma - a more serious respiratory condition. So simply preventing
allergies may in turn ward off asthma.
Ownby DR, Johnson CC, Peterson EL. Exposure to dogs and cats
in the first year of life and risk of allergic sensitization
at 6 to 7 years of age. Journal of the American Medical
Association 2002:288(8), pp. 963-972.
To find out more pediatric health facts, go to http://www.chiroweb.com/find/archives/pediatrics.