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Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Can dogs and cats really prevent asthma?

Your question:  I read about a recent study that showed that exposure to a cat or dog can prevent asthma or allergies.  So why don't doctors recommend that all parents get a dog or a cat to prevent asthma and allergies.  I know it sounds goofy, but...

My humble answer:  I'm going to give you the oposite answer that you'd expect me to give.  I'm the kind of person who doesn't like to jump on the popular bandwagon.  I don't like to support something just because everyone else does.  By this I'm going to imply, that even thoug I wrote an article about it called "Having a dog or a cat may help prevent asthma," doesn't means I think the study is even viable.  In fact, if you think about it, asthma is a hereditary disease.  By this you must realize that most people who have asthma and allergies are more likely than those without asthma to have pets.  So it's only fitting that such a study would show that people who have a dog or cat are more likely not to have asthma.  So I'm going to say that there is no evidence a dog or cat will prevent asthma, and suggest that if you have a family history of asthma that you don't get a dog based on studies like this. 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

One of the most popular theories for the increase in asthma prevalence of the 20th and 21st centuries is the cleanliness theory. Basically we have become too clean, and so adding these allergens to our environment causes us to react to them in a way that we didn't used to when we lived in huts with chickens and goats.

If this theory is correct, it would explain why having pets decreases the incidence of asthma. Adding a certain amount of dirtiness may actually be beneficial. Of course you don't want to go overboard and live in a house infested with mold or cockroaches, but a pet may do the trick so long as you aren't allergic.