Did you know that children who are exposed to pet cats and dogs in their first 12 months of life have been found to have a lower instance of childhood asthma? As much as 13% lower, in fact, and that figure is derived from a Swedish study of 650,000 children!
This study suggests that pets can actually strengthen a child’s young immune system and help to prevent allergies! Now, as a mother myself, I could want nothing more for my children, and although more evidence is needed before we can say it’s definitive, (not all studies have produced such notable results), I’m happy to know that my children share their home with pets.
Sadly today, many children suffer from pet allergies, with close to 50% of asthmatic little ones in the US being allergic to domestic cats and dogs. But what is it that they’re allergic to? Well, it’s a combination of skin cells and saliva – skin cells covered in saliva, to be exact; “dander”. Given that animals use their saliva to groom, this saliva is transferred to their skin and then shed with loose hair. This is how these cells come into contact with our skin or respiratory system, sending those with established allergies into a frenzy.
If you or your child suffers from allergies, here are a few tips to help reduce the intensity of reactions:
- Make sure that you have an efficient vacuum cleaner to draw as much hair and skin cells from your floors
- Try to keep your pets from entering the sleeping spaces of those with allergies, and if possible, even from the living areas.
- Bath and groom your pets regularly. It’s not a guarantee, but it can help to wash the dead skin and loose hair from their coat, and therefore help you reduce the need for your pet to self-groom (though it mightn’t do much for its want! LOL)
- Use air filters. They’re not a guarantee, but they are definitely worth a try
- Most importantly, if someone in your family already has an allergy and you are considering buying a pet, think again. Introducing pets to those with established allergies is NOT guaranteed to help, and in fact poses the risk of making them worse.
Check out this video from Animalist News discussing this topic.[mashshare]
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