Kids exposed to pets early, less allergic

DETROIT, June 13 (UPI) -- Children exposed to pets at an early age are not more likely to develop allergies, in fact, it may lower their risk, U.S. researchers say.

The study, published in the journal Clinical & Experimental Allergy, found keeping a dog or cat in the home does not increase children's risk of becoming allergic to the pets.


Study leader Ganesa Wegienka of Henry Ford Hospital and colleagues tracked a group of children from birth until they reached adulthood on exposure to cats and dogs.

At age 18, 565 study participants supplied blood samples that were measured for antibodies to dog and cat allergens.

The study found that being exposed to the specific animal in the first year of life was the most important period and the exposure appeared protective in some.

For example, young adult men whose families had kept a dog inside the home during their first year of life had about half the risk of becoming sensitized to dogs compared with families that did not keep a dog inside the home in the first year of life.

Both men and women were about half as likely to be sensitized to cats if they had lived with a cat in the first year of life, compared with those who did not live with cats.


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