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Surprising New Info on Children, Allergies and Pets
by Susan Dunn, MA Clinical Psychology, The EQ
Have you wondered whether to get your child a pet
or not? Does your family have a history of
allergies and have you been told by your
pediatrician it's not a good idea?
There's interesting news from the Medical College
of George (MCG), evidence from a new study about
children and pets published in the Journal of the
American Medical Association that having pets may
actually help with allergies.
Dr. Dennis R. Ownby, chief of MCG's Section of
Allergy and Immunology has followed 474 babies
from birth to age 7 and has found that children
exposed to two or more in-door pets were half as
likely to develop common allergies.
"Allergists have been trained for generations that
dogs and cats in the house are bad because they
increase the risk of you becoming allergic to them;
we know that before you become allergic to
something, you have to be repeatedly exposed to
He and his staff were just as surprised at the
results of their study as you may be reading it!
"The data didn't look the way it was supposed to;
as a matter of fact, it was very strongly the
opposite of what we expected to find," said Ownby.
Ownby speculates that the reason so many kids have
allergies and ashthma now is because we live too
clean a life.
When kids play with cats and dogs, he says, they
get licked. And that lick transfers a lot of
Gram-negative bacteria that may change the way the
child's immune system responds, says Ownby. The
"lick" gives them exposure to higher levels of
what's called "endotoxins," the breakdown toxin
from the Gram-negative bacteria.
According to an article from the Medical College
of Georgia, studies from southern Germany and
Switzerland are confirming that children of
farmers, regularly exposed to animals, have less
allergies than city kids.
Check it out with your pediatrician, but it may be
getting a pet or two would be beneficial for your
children's allergy resistance, as well as all the other
benefits we drive from our beloved pets.
©Susan Dunn, MA Clinical Psychology, The EQ
Coach, http://www.susandunn.cc . Coaching
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