Allergies are a very common problem among people of all ages, including children. Allergic rhinitis, for example, is among the most common types of allergies, and it can really make life difficult for those who suffer from it. Many parents have the misconception that in order to avoid allergic reactions in children it is best to keep their kids away from furry animals. Some even believe that pets can be a cause of not only allergies but also result in the development of asthma in children. However, this is certainly not the case, unless an individual already has an allergy to a pet animal.
In fact it has been proven that exposure to pet allergens while one is still young can actually lead to a reduction in the risk of becoming allergic or asthmatic. According to a study supported by the National Institutes of Health, it is actually advisable to have young children play with pets. From the findings of this study it followed that when children are exposed to certain levels of pet and pest allergens at home, they have a lower risk of developing asthma by the time they are seven years of age. These findings were published last September in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.
This preventative effect is certainly very interesting, considering that many were opposed to exposing children to pet allergens. The truth is that pets have a considerable positive effect on small children’s development and their future health. This study can shed light on strategies that could prevent asthma from developing, and since it is better to prevent rather than cure, one can state that these findings may pose a revolutionary turn in the way asthma is tackled. Considering that more than 8% of American children suffer from asthma, these findings are certainly worth noting.
The study was conducted among hundreds of children, which were followed since their birth. As it turned out, allergens of dogs, cats and other pet animals that were present in dust samples collected from the homes of children somehow are able to develop resistance to allergies in children under 7 years of age. The study proved that there was a very low rate of asthma in people who had been exposed to pets during their first seven years of life.
When it comes to asthma, the development of the disease is linked to maternal stress during the first three years since the child is born, and exposure to tobacco smoke, according to the study. The monitoring has been still going on and scientists hope this study will lead to considerable changes in the prevention of asthma and allergies.