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Pets Can Double as Asthma Antidote

By Len Canter
HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, Nov. 16, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- The "hygiene hypothesis" holds that early exposure to a variety of microorganisms may decrease the risk for chronic inflammatory diseases, like asthma.

Two Swedish studies that tracked 650,000 children found that exposure to farm animals and even dogs can have this kind of beneficial effect. Living on a farm cut kids' asthma rate by half. Just having a dog in baby's first year was linked to a 13 percent lower risk of asthma later on, the researchers reported.

Most Americans don't live on farms, but these findings show that raising a baby in a household with a dog might have benefits beyond love and companionship. Early exposure to cats as well as dogs may offer some protection from developing allergies and asthma, health experts suggest.

Other steps can also help prevent childhood asthma.

First, don't smoke or allow anyone else in your household to smoke. Smoking when pregnant increases the chances of your baby wheezing during infancy. And continued exposure to secondhand smoke has a direct tie to asthma and other respiratory illnesses in kids.

Also, try to breastfeed baby for at least four to six months to strengthen his or her immune system and help avoid infections that start in the lungs, common asthma triggers.

Other suggestions:

  • Reduce exposure to dust mites, a common allergen.
  • Use zippered covers on pillows and mattresses, wash all bedding in hot water once a week and keep the humidity in your home below 50 percent.
  • If you can, keep baby's room free of carpeting and upholstered furniture, places where mites hide.

More information

You can find more tips on preventing asthma and allergies in your kids from the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology.

Copyright © 2018 HealthDay. All rights reserved. URL:http://consumer.healthday.com/Article.asp?AID=738361

Resources from HONselect: HONselect is the HON's medical search engine. It retrieves scientific articles, images, conferences and web sites on the selected subject.
Asthma
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The list of medical terms above are retrieved automatically from the article.

Disclaimer: The text presented on this page is not a substitute for professional medical advice. It is for your information only and may not represent your true individual medical situation. Do not hesitate to consult your healthcare provider if you have any questions or concerns. Do not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting a qualified healthcare professional.
Be advised that HealthDay articles are derived from various sources and may not reflect your own country regulations. The Health On the Net Foundation does not endorse opinions, products, or services that may appear in HealthDay articles.


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