BREAKING NEWS...Study Suggests Pets May Actually Prevent Allergies
Every since I can remember the story always went that if you had
allergies, having pets was usually not a good idea. The increased
dander, exposure to multiple allergens and the close contact of
people and their pets was thought to make a difficult medical situation
worse. But that thought process may be changing.
Multiple studies in Europe have shown that children exposed to
pets when very young may actually be less likely to develop allergies
later in life, including allergies to pets, dust mites, grasses
and pollens. And now, for the first time, a study conducted in the
United States seems to draw the same conclusion. The study was conducted
by the Henry Ford Health System in Detroit, Michigan, and presented
at the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology's annual
Seven hundred and twenty four (724) pregnant women were recruited
for the study, and their infants were followed until they were seven
years of age. At the end of the seven years, over 500 of the children
were still participants in the study. Researchers followed the immunoglobulin
E levels, measuring the antibody that is involved in allergic reactions.
They concluded that children who lived in homes with one or more
pets were no more likely, and in some cases, less likely, to react
to allergens than those living in pet-free environments.
No conclusions were drawn as to why this occurred, and researchers
were quick to point out that historical studies have shown different
results. But everyone agreed that exposure to allergens during the
first year of life has, along with heredity, a profound influence
on the risk for allergies later on. The question now is: does exposure
to cats and dogs INCREASE this risk or, as this study showed, DECREASE
Stay tuned. I will try to keep you updated as the debate continues.
As always, I'm happy to help your pets...and their people, too.