ALLERGIES CAN BE REDUCED - EVEN CURED
BY HAVING INDOOR PETS
ESPECIALLY YOUR CHILDREN
- "The bottom line is that maybe part of the reason we
have so many children with allergies and asthma is we
live too clean a life. Their Immune system never had a
chance to strengthen.”
- Children who live around two or more dogs or cats
before their first birthday are less likely to have
allergies of any sort, according to a study in
Wednesday's issue of The Journal of the American Medical
5 STUDIES SHOW THAT THIS CLEARLY DECREASES YOURS AND
YOUR CHILDREN'S CHANCES OF FUTURE ALLERGIES - CAN EVEN
CURE EXISTING ONES.
(Does not imply nor suggest pet have free reign of house
or be inside all day, too. This study was clear with the
5,000 participants: dogs should be brought inside ONE
FULL HOUR before bedtime and be allowed outside for the
day soon after waking up in morning. Sleeping
arrangement can be just inside door. Dogs will receive
socialization, guidance and interaction with family
members during this time)
NEW ENGLAND JOURNAL OF MEDICINE,
ASSOCIATED PRESS, DALLAS MORNING STAR
AND HEALTH SCOUT NEWS
All agree that homes with pets who sleep inside the home
at night have much healthier family members of all ages,
not to mention the extended lives of the animals due to
improved health and the increased socialization
It strengthens the immune system
Kids With Pets Have Fewer Allergies
By JUSTIN PRITCHARD, Associated Press Writer
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - Contrary to many parents' instinct,
infants who grow up with cats or dogs living along side
them inside the main residence are less likely to suffer
from allergies and asthma later in life, preliminary
``Traditionally, most people have thought that increased
exposure to these allergens leads to more allergies,''
said Dr. Darryl Zeldin of the National Institute of
Environmental Health Sciences. ``But, those conclusions
are being re-evaluated.''
Most research has focused on how to reduce allergy
sufferers' exposure to household irritants, such as dust
mites and pet dander. But new evidence suggests that
exposure to pets early in life might actually help the
body build defenses against allergies and even asthma.
`Kids exposed to animals seemed to be better off,'' said
Christine C. Johnson, a researcher with the Henry Ford
Health System in Detroit who conducted
one of several studies on the effects of pet exposure
Johnson's study, involving researchers in Georgia and
Michigan, found that exposure to two or more cats and
dogs at 1 year of age made children less susceptible to
other allergy-inducing substances by the time they
turned 7, and that the exposure even improved some boys'
The study tracked 833 children, testing 473 of them
after six or seven years to determine how exposure to
pets when they were infants influenced their tolerance
to allergens. The results were presented at an American
Thoracic Society conference
Johnson and other researchers still caution that the
subject remains complex. `Are we proposing that if every
house in the county had cats or dogs inside, everything
would be all right? I think so, but more studies are
underway,'' said Dr. Thomas Platts-Mills, a University
of Virginia allergy research specialist.
Platts-Mills also found that early exposure to cat
dander decreased the risk of asthma, though not
necessarily most allergies. A team of Swedish
researchers reached the same conclusion. Platts-Mills
studied 226 children aged 12 to 14 in New Mexico and
Virginia and published his results in March.
Asthma rates have more than doubled since 1980 - 17.3
million Americans suffer from the respiratory disease
and 5,000 people die from it each year. Millions more
deal with runny noses, swollen eyes and itchy skin
caused by less serious allergies.
Researchers say the new findings could be in line with
what doctors call the `hygiene hypothesis.'' The theory
holds that Americans grow up too clean, that a lack of
environmental contaminants means immune systems
overreact when they encounter allergy-inducing
More pets, fewer sneezes?
Raising babies with two dogs or cats may lower allergy
risk, study finds
By LAURA BEIL / The Dallas Morning News
A little hair of the dog (or cat) may protect kids
Children who live around two or more dogs or cats before
their first birthday are less likely to have allergies
of any sort, according to a study in Wednesday's issue
of The Journal of the American Medical Association.
The study is one of the most comprehensive so far to
look at the "hygiene hypothesis," the idea that
allergies are increasing because American childhood has
gotten too clean. While some studies have suggested that
early exposure to animals raises the risk of becoming
allergic to them, other research has found that the
immune system welcomes animal companionship in infancy.
"Contrary to a prevailing popular opinion, early
exposure to dogs and cats doesn't increase the risk of
becoming allergic to them," said Dr. Dennis Ownby of the
Medical College of Georgia. "In fact, it decreases the
risk of becoming allergic to anything."
Dr. Ownby's study, conducted with colleagues at the
Henry Ford Health System in Detroit, involved 474
children. It is one of the few allergy studies to enroll
infants at birth, before anyone knew which child would
develop reactions. Researchers could also account for a
long list of allergy co-conspirators that might have
skewed the results: whether the parents had allergies,
whether anyone in the house smoked, and how many
siblings each child had, among other things.
Yet even when the scientists adjusted for other
explanations, the animal connection remained. Babies
raised with two or more animals were about half as
likely to have allergies by the time they turned 6.
About 34 percent of the 6-year-olds in animal-free homes
had a positive skin prick test for dander, dust mites,
ragweed and other triggers. But only about 15 percent of
the children with two or more cats or dogs had at least
one positive allergy test.
"There seems to be something about the development of
the immune system during that first year," Dr. Ownby
said. The effect was much more pronounced in boys than
girls, the researchers found. That finding may reflect
differences in immune systems - young boys are generally
more allergy-prone - or it could simply be that boys and
girls play with pets differently, he said.
Having one animal didn't make much difference overall in
the children's allergy rates, perhaps meaning that the
immune system needs a certain level of workout before it
responds, Dr. Ownby said. The results in boys suggested
that having one animal was better than none. Doctors
also agree, however, that children who already have
allergies to dogs and cats should NOT avoid those
Dr. Ownby's study complements others that have found
children on farms have fewer allergies, said Dr. Thomas
Platts-Mills of the University of Virginia Health
Sciences Center in Charlottesville.
"Having two animals at home is like having a cow in the
barn," said Dr. Platts-Mills, who wrote an editorial
published with the new research. In the journal, he
wrote that the suggestion of broad allergy protection
from dogs and cats "differs from some previous studies
but is consistent with others, and raises important
questions about possible immunologic mechanisms."
Although the reason for the protection is unclear, there
are hypotheses. Perhaps, some scientists believe, homes
with pets have more bacteria, and more of a bacterial
component called endotoxin. A number of studies in
animals and people have suggested that a young immune
system awash in endotoxin matures in a way that steers
it away from allergic responses.
If researchers can figure out why animals may be an
immune system's best friend, they may find a way to help
kids whose parents can't have or don't want dogs and
cats. Dr. Ownby envisions some kind of medicine - one
that doesn't shed or chew the furniture - that may dull
the allergic response.
"There may be something we can expose children to and
reduce their risk of allergies, and now we’ve found it,"
Dr. Ownby said.
Dr. Rebecca Gruchalla, chief of allergy and immunology
at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center
at Dallas. She stresses, though, that she's talking
about allergies before they develop. Dr. Gruchalla said
she was particularly struck to see that two animals were
necessary for the protection. But was assuring that was
the clear finding.
"I am excited to explore this further," she said.
Early exposure to pets may shield kids throughout life
By Adam Marcus
TUESDAY, Aug. 27 (HealthScoutNews) -- Pets have long
been blamed as a major source of allergens in the home,
but a new study may give them at least a partial
furlough from the doghouse.
Researchers say some children exposed as infants to two
or more pets in the house are less -- not more -- likely
to develop allergies to dogs, cats, and other irritants
The findings, appearing in tomorrow's issue of the
Journal of the American Medical Association, confirm
earlier, counterintuitive studies from the United States
and abroad showing that pet dander seems to protect
children from allergies and asthma.
"For years, I've been telling people concerned about
their kids and allergies that they ought to get pets out
of the house," said Dr. Dennis Ownby, an allergist at
the Medical College of Georgia and leader of the
research team. "Now I have to retract that and tell
them, 'If you're happy with pets in the home, you can
continue to have them without feeling guilty.'"
Ownby took the matter a step further. "If you're going
to have a pet," he said, "it's probably better to have
two rather than one.” Quickly adding they should be
similar size, breed etc for better compatibility and
interaction during play time.
Ownby said there's a debate about why early exposure to
pets is protective. His group's feeling is that animals
may track in irritants from the dirty world outside the
home that beef up a child's immune system. The generally
increasing cleanliness in developed countries has been
blamed for a recent surge in allergies and asthma.
"This suggests that there is something we can do that
will, in fact, reduce risk.
Pets Keep Allergies at Bay
Parents who want to reduce the chances that their
children will develop allergies -- and perhaps even
asthma -- might want to consider getting dogs or cats as
pets when their children are infants. New research
indicates that children who live in homes with pets
during their first year of life appear to be much less
likely to develop allergies.
The Medical College followed 474 children in the Detroit
area from birth to age 7, comparing those who were
exposed to two or more dogs or cats during their infancy
with those who were not exposed to the animals. The kids
who lived with dogs or cats were half as likely to
develop allergies to animals and other common
substances, such as ragweed and dust mites, the
researchers reported in the Aug. 28 Journal of the
American Medical Association.
The researchers speculated that exposure to animals
primes a child's immune system in a way that makes them
less likely to be sensitive to substances that can
"The bottom line is that maybe part of the reason we
have so many children with allergies and asthma is we
live too clean a life," Ownby said. Having allergies
increases a child's risk of developing asthma. So
reducing the chances of developing allergies would
reduce the chances of developing asthma, which has
become increasingly common in the United States, the