Allergies in Children

Exposure to Animals Early in Life Decreases Allergy Risk

A new study published in Aug. 28, 2002 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association says children in their first year of life who live with two or more cats or dogs have less chance of having common allergies later in life.

Kids raised with pets were only 31 percent as likely as children without pets to show common allergic responses by the time they were ages 6 to 7.

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This seems consistent with another study published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine 2000 (May);   161 (5):   1563-1566 showing that children raised in rural, farm like setting with daily exposure to animals were less likely to suffer from allergies and asthma. It also showed, early exposure to bacteria, fungi, dust and animal dander may help to explain lower rates of asthma and allergy among children It also showed that adolescents who lived on farms were less likely to suffer from asthma and allergic symptoms such as wheezing and narrowing of the airway than teens raised in rural but non-farm settings.

Perhaps our sterile, septic enviornment and the precautions we take are a bit excessive and causing greater problems.