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Having children in contact with dogs early on increases protection against allergies
Anyone with a dog will surely confirm that their pet is a faithful companion and greatly enriches the life of their owner. Children especially love dogs and like to play with animals. Caring for a pet not only leads to better general handling of animals in children, but also seems to offer increased protection against allergies.
Scientists at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore found that a dog in a child's home improves the protection of children from the development of eczema and asthma. The experts released a press release on the results of their study, which will be presented at the annual meeting of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI) in Boston.
Newborns are less likely to develop allergic skin disorders when mothers have a dog
A dog at home brings health benefits to children, it can protect against the development of allergies. This effect can already be seen in babies born into a household with a dog. Affected newborns develop allergic skin diseases less frequently in the first years of their life.
Doctors took samples from 180 households with children
In their study, the scientists examined the effects of contact with dogs on children with an allergy. The experts also analyzed what happens when affected children come into contact with the relevant animal allergy-causing substances. They took samples from 180 households with children. These samples should indicate which animals and allergens are found in the house. The researchers also documented the children's asthma symptoms.
The protective effect of dogs on children's health does not occur in other animals
The researchers came to an interesting conclusion in their investigation: If children come into contact with some of the so-called non-allergy-causing elements of dogs, this leads to a protective effect against asthma diseases. Such children had the advantage of having fewer asthma problems during the night. In addition, these children also had to inhale medication for their asthma less frequently in the morning. The experts believe that the protective effect found in the study is probably due to certain bacteria. However, it is also possible that it is related to previously unknown factors. If a similar effect was examined in other animals, such as cats, mice or cockroaches, no such protective effect could be observed.
Parents of children with a dog allergy should be careful
Another team of researchers found that living with a dog can be problematic for children with dog allergy. An allergic reaction can have unpleasant consequences, but it can also reduce the symptoms of asthma, the scientists explain. It is nevertheless questionable to expose children with an allergic reaction to dogs to the allergen, explains the author Po-Yang Tsou from Johns Hopkins University. When these children had direct contact with the allergens, they developed increased symptoms and, in addition, an increased need for medication. Such children should wash their hands thoroughly immediately after cuddling with a dog. In addition, the dog should not be let into the child's bedroom, the researchers advise. In addition, the use of special air filters and vacuum cleaners can improve the child's situation.
Contact from pregnant women to dogs protects their children from rash
The results of the current study showed that children were less likely to suffer from a rash if the mothers spent at least one hour a day indoors with a dog during pregnancy. In general, rash occurs more often in children. This is often not considered a real health threat, but an allergic reaction can quickly develop into a food allergy and this can then lead to allergic reactions in the respiratory tract or even asthma, the experts explain.
Should expectant mothers make contact with dogs?
Expectant mothers shouldn't worry about possible problems for their unborn babies from handling dogs. If mothers have regular contact with dogs during pregnancy, this means that at least in the child's first years of life they develop eczema much less frequently. This increased protection was observed up to the age of two, but according to the researchers, the protective effect was no longer available when the children were 10 years old. (as)