CHILDREN that grow up with pets, such as cats and dogs, have a decreased chance of the development of allergies, says a study at the Henry Ford Hospital by the Department of Public Health Sciences. The research followed nearly six hundred children from birth until the age of 18 with a number of visits to each by the conducting team. Blood tests were taken once they reached adulthood, and data was taken from both the children and adults over the years.
The results from the blood tests and data showed that the most effective time for building antibodies and reducing the risk of allergies was in the first year of infancy. This was backed up by 50% of the cases of children around pets who did not have allergies compared to those without contact to an animal, in regards to cats and dogs.
“This research provides further evidence that experiences in the first year of life are associated with health status later in life, and that early life pet exposure does not put most children at risk of being sensitized to these animals later in life,” said Ganesa Wegienka, lead author of the study. “Your immune system, if it’s busy with exposures early on, stays away from the allergic immune profile.”
The results were published in the journal Clinical and Experimental Allergy.