Healthy Living

Dogs, babies in same house may prevent asthma - report

Friday, June 22, 2012

Four-month-old Caden is used to grabbing on to his long-haired Chihuahua at home. It was something his parents were initially worried about, but a new study shows that interaction may be key to Caden developing healthy airways.

A new report presented to the American Society for Microbiology finds house dust from homes with dogs may protect children from developing asthma. In other words, having a dog at home might help prevent asthma in children.

Researchers found that mice exposed to dust from houses with dogs did far better than those who were not.

Dr. Tamiko Ralston from Children's Hospital Los Angeles explained how the dust protects animals from a common childhood infection called RSV.

"They didn't have any of the inflammation, the mucous production. They seemed to be sort of protected against the disease," she said.

The RSV infection is believed to contribute to asthma.

"I think it's kind of exciting in that they might have actually might be able to identify the type of microbe that protects against RSV and that could be helpful in terms of preventing RSV infections later on," she said.

If dust from a dog can benefit your child's immune system then why not give it a try? But experts say when you bring a dog home can make all the difference.

"It's more helpful if you're exposed to these things early in life so if you're born into a house that has dogs it would be more helpful than bringing a dog home to your 5 year old," said Ralston.

Caden's dad suffers from asthma so that makes Caden more likely to get it. But the good news experts say is if he does get asthma it may be a milder case, especially because Caden is exposed to some protective benefits from his canine friend at home.

"Anything that could help keep him from developing asthma or other problems, I was actually in the hospital a few times as a child so anything that could keep him out of the hospital would be great," said Hsiawen Hull, Caden's dad.

Ralston also says if you're not a dog person, don't despair. Cats may also provide the same effect.

(Copyright ©2014 KABC-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved.)

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children's health, animal news, healthy living, denise dador
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