My love for animals started from a pretty early age, but it obviously wasn't enough for my parents to let me have a dog, a cat, or even a fish. Well, that may have backfired on them as according to a recent study, as being raised around cats and dogs reduces your allergy risk in later life. Who suffered with eczema and still has hay fever? This gal. Just proof yet again that humans do not deserve these beautiful animals.
According to a study conducted by Bill Hesselmar and his colleagues at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden, "several studies have indicated that early pet keeping could protect the infant from later allergy development," which further supported the results the university gathered in 1999.
Published in the scientific research journal PLOS ONE, and reported by the New Scientist, the team set out to collate information from a group of 1029 children through a "cross-sectional" questionnaire, and a "birth-cohort" study whereby 249 children were clinically evaluated from birth to see if growing up in a household with pets had any benefit to lowering the risk of conditions such as hay fever, asthma, and eczema. This also included collecting information of the pets as well, which "was collected retrospectively in the cross-sectional cohort and prospectively in the birth cohort."
So how significant were the results? Well, the information gathered in the first study demonstrated that if a child was brought up in a household with no pets, their risk of allergies sat at 49 percent. In comparison, this percentage fell to 43 percent with one pet, 24 percent with three pets, and two children who lived with five pets had no allergies at all.
It was a pretty similar deal with the second, with a risk of 48 percent for children with no exposure to animals, 35 percent for those with one pet, and 21 percent for those who lived with two or more. So basically, it's all the more excuse for you to surround your family with puppy kisses and kitty purrs. Who knows, if I ever got my way as a kid and grew up with a five dogs and a cat, I might not suffer with hay fever now.
"The main findings from this extended study support our previous results, that pet-keeping during early childhood is associated with less allergy, and that the protective effect from pet-keeping increased with increasing number of animals," the study suggested. "The dose-response effect and a similar protective effect for sensitisation to animals and pollen, indicate that the protective effect is meditated by the keeping of animals, and is not a species-specific effect.
"It is our suggestion that the allergy-protective effect mediated by pet-keeping should be considered a 'mini-farm' effect, equating our finding to those found in the numerous farm studies performed."
Basically, if you want your kids not to suffer with allergies that include sneezing every other moment (I feel your pain, fellow hay fever sufferers) and debilitatingly itchy skin, being raised around doggos and kitties is the best way to go. That is unless you have an allergy to said animals.