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Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Can a dog or cat prevent asthma?

The following was published on on July 7, 2011.

Having a dog or cat may prevent asthma

Some people think that if you have a family history of cat or dog allergies you should not expose your kids to cats or dogs. The belief is this will prevent cat and dog allergies.

Yet that theory may soon -- if it hasn't been already -- be thown into the large, heaping pile of asthma myths, along with the myth that you grow out of asthma or that asthma is a disease of the mind.

In a recent study researchers followed 565 kids from the ages of birth through age 18, and learned that those kids who were exposed to cats had a 50 percent less chance of developing a cat allergy.  Boys exposed to dogs in the first year of life were likewise 50 percent less likely to develop a dog allergy.

Yet exposure to dogs the first year of life by girls caused no significant change in their risk of developing allergies.  The reason for this remians a mystery.

According to the Washington Post "Study shows early exposure to cats and dogs does not make children allergy-prone," it's not the dog per se that causes allergies, but the dander, and flakes of skin the animal sheds, that cause the allergy response.

These allergens  "get on the skin when the animal licks itself, the substance dries and eventually the skin flakes off. Common symptoms of a pet allergy are sneezing and a runny nose, although some people also have trouble breathing."

Healthcay Reporter Serena Gordon, in "Early Exposure to Pets Won't Up Kids' Allergy Risk: Study," made another important connection, and I have to say I was thinking the same thing when I first read this study

She wrote that this kind of goes along with the hygiene hypothesis which surmises many cases of allergies and asthma are caused because we are overprotective of our kids -- we are too clean.  That exposure to germs while the immune system is developing -- in the first year of life -- makes our immune systems stronger.

Thus, a stronger immune system will be less likely to create antibodies to identify and destroy things that are considered normal -- like cat and dog dander.

Surely this is only one study, yet I have seen other studies that came to the same conclusion.  This might be proof positive that early exposure to cats and dogs will allow our kids to be among the 70 percent of Americans who own a cat or a dog.

Early exposure may allow our kids the opportunity to enjoy these fun animals later in life without being zo zduffy and mizzable.



Anonymous said...

I don't think so, I believe they make the condition even worse since they are among the things that triggers asthma attacks. What is truly needed are medical equipments, such as respirators, nebulizer etc. I got my medical equipments here, just to be prepared for any kind of attacks.

Aiesha Grant said...

Ehhhh, I guess it's one of those maybe we will never know type things. But I personally don't believe it! Especially with those people whose asthma is triggered by certain allergens. When those individuals come into contact with those allergens the mast cells degranulate leasing to the release of many chemical mediators such as histamine, heparin, PAF etc (bare with me here I'm helping myself study) lol. So the release of all those chemical mediators would cause more inflammation, an already existing problem with asthmatics and may result in the production of excess secretions right?

Rick Frea said...

I believe the study is referring to infants born into homes with animals. It goes back to the hygiene hypothesis that states developing immune systems need something to fight in the first year of life. Hanging out with a dog or cat after you already have allergies is too late. However, I also believe the entire study is poppycock as you can see in the article I'll link to in the next comment.

Rick Frea said...

Check out this link:

Rick Frea said...

Also check out this link and this link.