BEACON TRANSCRIPT – Children with pets have lower asthma risks later on according to a recent study. Researchers have found that children who grow up exposed to dog or farm animals have a lesser chance of being diagnosed with asthma later in life.
The large research was conducted thanks to a mutual effort conducted between the Science for Life Laboratory at Uppsala University and researchers from Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden. Scientists involved studies the associations between children’s early exposure to dogs and farm animals and the risk of asthma.
It was quite a large effort as the researches had to analyze data on farm registration, asthma medication, dog ownership, diagnosis and also take into account factors that could affect or alter the data and collect all the information from parents and children alike. Due to the fact that they did not have access to individual allergy test results they were unable to determine exactly how many children had dog related allergic asthma.
More than one million children were examined in order to complete the study. The main hypothesis that the scientist had was that children that are exposed to animals and that live in animal environments are more likely to breathe in air that contains more bacteria and that actually helps them build up their immunity and lowers the risk of asthma.
According to the study, children under the age of three did not manifest any protective effect from being exposed to animals. In fact, preschool aged children who had grown up with dogs in their environments actually had a slightly higher risk of developing pneumonia and other respiratory infections because of the exposure to the additional germs.
But in cases where there was exposure to farm animals and dogs during early childhood the risk of asthma was lowered significantly. Farm animal exposure seems to be the most effective one, with an exposure in early childhood resulting in a lowered asthma risk of an impressive 52 percent for school children and a 32 percent for pre-school children. With exposure to dogs lowered asthma risk by 13 percent for school kids and 10 percent for pre-school children.
These are astounding results considering the fact that previous studies showed that growing up around animals actually cause problems on children’s respiratory systems. Scientists advise that according to the findings, it would be healthy to expose children to animals in early childhood and encourage parents to make sure their kids spend more time outdoors, around animals. Not only will this lower their risk of asthma but also get the child less indoor allergen exposure.
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