Having a dog cuts risk of childhood eczema, asthma
Washington DC [USA], October 27 : It's time to rejoice for dog lovers.
Lead author Gagandeep Cheema from American College Of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology said although eczema is commonly
found in infants, many people do not know that there is a progression from eczema to food allergies to nasal allergies and asthma.
"We wanted to know if there was a protective effect in having a dog that slowed down that progress," Cheema added.
He informed that researchers examined mother-child pairs exposed to a dog.
"Exposure" was defined as keeping one or more dogs indoors for at least one hour daily.
Allergist Edward M Zoratti from ACAAI said they found a mother's exposure to dogs before the birth of a child is significantly associated with lower risk of eczema by two years of age, but this protective effect goes down at age 10.
In the second study, the team examined the effects of two different types of dog exposure on children with asthma in Baltimore.
The first type was the protein or allergen that affects children who are allergic to dogs.
The second type was elements such as bacteria that a dog might carry.
The findings indicated that exposure to the elements that dogs carry may have a protective effect against asthma symptoms.
But exposure to the allergen may result in more asthma symptoms among urban children with dog allergy.
Lead author Po-Yang Tsou stated that the researchers believe that a child's contact with factors other than dog allergen such as bacteria
or other unknown factors may provide the protective effect.
"However, dog allergen exposure remains a major concern for kids who are allergic to dogs," Dr Tsou added.
High-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) cleaners that run continuously in a bedroom or living room can reduce allergen levels over time, the researchers suggested.
The research was presented at the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI) Annual Scientific Meeting at the Hynes Convention Center in Boston, the US.