If you have a four-footed friend living at home here in Buffalo, NY, then you know how much joy cats and dogs can bring to your life. However, you probably didn’t know that they are also beneficial to your health. As it turns out, recent research reveals that babies that grow up with animals in the house may be less likely to develop cat and dog allergies and asthma when they’re older.
Your gut contains anywhere between 500 and 1,000 microbes, and those microbes help keep you healthy. According to studies from the past several years, your environment can significantly impact the kind and diversity of bacteria that grows in the gut.
Since humans began spending more and more time indoors, they’ve limited their exposure to many of the microbes that would have stemmed the development of cat and dog allergies and asthma.
Scientists today are finding that there’s a window of time in which the immune system needs to learn how to identify harmful microbes. Known as the hygiene theory, this hypothesis proposes that children with pets are at an advantage. Not only do animals carry bacteria in their fur, but they also drag in germs after running outside in the dirt.
After all, a dog allergy is the body’s irrational response to animal dander. The body, for some strange reason, incorrectly identifies the substance as harmful, and triggers an immune response. However, scientists are beginning to discover that they might actually be able to prevent the development of dog allergies in children after all.
In fact, animals may even help your children before they’re born. Evidence reveals higher levels of neonatal immune cells in umbilical cord blood of pregnant women who spent time on farms. Exposure to animals can have an incredible immunity-boosting effect up through a baby’s first three months of life.
If you’re planning to grow your family you should know that there are no cures to dog allergies. The best medicine is, in fact, prevention. So, in case you needed another reason to spend time outdoors with your pet, know that he/she might just save your son or daughter a good deal of sneezing and coughing years down the line.