Dogs are man's
best friends. But it's turning out to be like dogs can also be best friends for
toddlers. Infants' exposure to dogs and farm animals may reduce their risk of
, revealed a new study.
The World Health
Organization has revealed that asthma affects 235 million people worldwide and
it is the most common chronic disease among children. Its primary symptoms
include coughing, wheezing
and shortness of breath.
‘Pet animals are actually healthy! Own a pet and let your babies play with them as it enriches their immunity and reduces risk of asthma and allergies.’
conducted at the Uppsala University analyzed one million children in Sweden to
know whether there was a link between animal exposure and asthma. This is said
to be one of the largest study conducted till date.
analyzed 276,000 school children, in which 22,000 had a parent who owned a dog
at the time of childbirth and about 950 who had a parent working on a farm with
animals. Totally, about 11,600 had an asthmatic event when they were seven
The study led by
Dr. Tove Fall and his colleagues found that exposure to dogs during infancy
reduced the risk of asthma
by 13 percent and to farm animals by 52 percent.
reviewed data on 379,000 preschool children where around 53,000 were exposed to
dogs and 1,700 to farm animals. In this, about 19,000 preschoolers had
experienced at least one asthma attack at the start of the study and around
28,000 additional cases of asthma were recorded during follow-up.
They found that
preschoolers exposed to dogs had a 10 percent lower risk of asthma and a 21
percent lower risk when exposed to farm animals. The study was published in the
Journal JAMA Pediatrics
animals did not have a protective effect on children under the age of three.
The study has certain limitations such as it was constrained only to the
Swedish children only up to age 7 and also did not pinpoint why the animals
might be linked to a reduced asthma risk.
"It might be due
to a single factor or more likely, a combination of several factors related to
dog ownership lifestyle or dog owner's attitudes, such as kids' exposure to
household dirt and pet dust, time spent outdoors or being physically active.
As a parent in a dog and baby household, it is nearly impossible to keep
everything clean, and maybe this is a good thing for your baby's future health," said Fall.
suggested that exposure to bacteria in the early stages of life
increases the immunity of an individual and also plays an important role in reducing the risks of developing asthma and asthma-related allergies.
"To let children
have a pet in their home is likely to enrich the family life in many ways, and
perhaps also enriches the child's microbiome and immune system
," Fall concluded.
Fall, Cecilia Lundholm, Anne K Örtqvist, Katja Fall, Fang Fang, Åke Hedhammar,
Olle Kämpe, Erik Ingelsson, Catarina Almqvist. Early Exposure to Dogs and Farm Animals and the Risk of Childhood Asthma
. JAMA Pediatrics
, 2015; 169 (11): e153219 DOI: 10.1001/jamapediatrics.2015.3219