The more you’re exposed to something, the less likely it’ll affect you in a negative way. The standing theory goes that if you’re constantly in the presence of say, a cat, your body will develop resistance to cat dander, fur and other lovely feline gifts. It’s like immunity; our body will only build that protective shield if there’s exposure.
Researchers in Sweden have found out how to decrease a child’s risk of asthma by half. What miraculous invention did they discover? Turns out it’s been under our noses all along: our little furry canine pals.
The study, published in the journal JAMA Pediatrics, shows that exposure to dogs or farm animals at a young age is linked to a lower risk of childhood asthma. Researchers looked at over 376,000 preschool-age children and over 276,000 school-age students and found that there might be a benefit to having animals around.
Researchers looked at the data and found that those who grew up with dogs had a 15 per cent lower risk of asthma. In addition, the risk of asthma to children who grow up on a farm drops by half. The study didn’t determine why the early exposure helps, but the researchers did say their findings fall in line with the hygiene hypothesis, which suggests that lack of exposure to germs and microbes during childhood could lead to more allergies, and that exposure can lead to a more agreeable immune system.
The research also linked the benefits to a lower risk of allergies. “It has been shown that dog exposure is associated with altered bacterial flora in house dust, and that mice exposed to such dust have alterations in their gut flora composition, as well as fewer allergic reactions,” wrote the study authors.
They added: “This information might be helpful in decision-making for families and physicians on the appropriateness and timing of early animal exposure.”
Hear that, asthma and allergy sufferers? It might be too late for you, but it’s not too late for your kids. If you can’t move your family out to a farm, perhaps you should think about adding a dog to your brood. For more info on the dog-asthma-allergies connection, check out the video, above.