The Family Dog Can Lower Kids’ Asthma Risk
Here's another reason to give the family dog a treat: According to a new study published in JAMA Pediatrics, early exposure to dogs and farm animals may reduce asthma risk in children.
Researchers from Sweden studied the link between animal exposure and asthma incidence in the Swedish population, which included more than a million children born between 2001 and 2010. Among this group, 5 percent of the preschool-age children had an asthmatic event before the study, and there were 28,511 cases of asthma observed during the follow-up. In the school-age children group, 4.2 percent had an asthmatic event at age seven.
The results suggested that dog exposure during the first year of life was linked with a 13 percent lower risk of asthma when the child was school-aged. Farm animal exposure was linked with a 52 percent reduced risk of asthma in school-age children and a 31 percent reduced risk in preschool-age children.
The researchers believe that young children who live with animals have regular contact with various microorganisms and endotoxins, which may influence the risk of asthma and other infectious diseases.