Can pets prevent asthma?
Asthma is a common condition that can cause breathing problems. When a person has asthma, their airways become swollen, which makes it difficult for oxygen to travel to the lungs. This causes them to cough, wheeze or have a tight chest. Some things can make a person’s asthma worse, such as allergies (from pet hair or dust), exercise and strong smells. However, a new study suggests that exposure to certain types of allergens – such as dust mites or pollen – from a young age can stop children getting asthma when they are older.
To reach this conclusion, scientists from the US studied 560 children, who were at risk of getting asthma. Researchers also took dust samples from each of the children’s homes, looking for cat, mouse and cockroach allergens. What they found was that if children were exposed to these allergens before the age of three, then they were less likely to get asthma by age seven.
Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, an expert in allergies, believes that early-life environment can influence what conditions children might develop.