Dogs Can Help Prevent Childhood Asthma

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Dog lovers already know the benefits of having a dog in the house, but researchers have strengthened that argument with their findings in a recent asthma study. They discovered that the dust in houses where dogs live differs from that of dust in non-dog homes and those differences make a big difference when it comes to asthma.

Dust from a house where a dog lives has helped prevent a common infection that can lead to childhood asthma, researchers reported Tuesday. It provides further evidence for the paradoxical “hygiene hypothesis” and might lead to an innovative way to help prevent kids from developing allergies, said a researcher from Georgia Health Sciences University who is a co-author of the study.

The study, presented at the American Society for Microbiology meeting in San Francisco, told how researchers from the University of California-San Francisco, the University of Michigan and GHSU looked at dust collected from a house where a dog lives but is also allowed to go outside. Mice that were dosed with the dust did not become infected with respiratory syncytial virus, a common infection that is associated with a higher risk of developing allergies, according to the study….More at Living with a dog could help prevent child asthma, study finds – The Augusta Chronicle

The “hygiene hypothesis” is the basic idea that humans who live in too clean an environment have immune systems that aren't as developed as humans who live in a less clean environment where they are exposed to more dirt and allergens. Those that grow up in a clean environment are therefore more susceptible to allergies and asthma.

“We’ve put more and more distance between ourselves and all of these soil organisms,” Ownby said. “What we think is happening is when you have cats or dogs in the home, and it is specifically cats or dogs that go outdoors and come back indoors on a regular basis, they are bringing soil, on their paws presumably, into the house. And that changes the makeup of the microbes in the house dust.

“The microbes we tend to find that are associated with a lower risk of allergic sensitivity are all microbes you tend to find in healthy soil.”

So parents, if your kids ask you for a puppy and you're considering saying no, you might want to think again, for your kids' health. 😉

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