Pets Near A Child: A study of nearly 600 young people revealed that early exposure to cats and dogs prevents little ones from developing allergies later in life.
The first year of a child’s life is the most important period in building resistance, according to the authors of the study published in the Journal of Clinical and Experimental Allergies (originally Clinical & Experimental Allergy Journal), quoted by the British daily The Telegraph.
The benefits of owning a pet and having pets near a child
Experts studied blood samples of participants, that reached the age of 18, comparing antibody levels to allergens from dogs and cats, from the blood of those who had pets and those who did not.
Young males who had dogs during the first year of life showed a reduced risk, about half, (48%) of becoming sensitive to dogs compared to those whose families did not own a dog. The researchers suggest that girls may not have developed the same immunity as boys because they could have interacted with animals in a different way, but this is just a guess.
Both, kids and young people who have had cats in their first year of life are also twice as likely to become later sensitive to animals compared to those who did not.
Exposure to animals at any time during life, after reaching the age of one year, does not affect in any way (neither positive nor negative) the risk of developing allergies to pet hair.
This is not the first study to bring to the attention of parents the importance of a furry animal in the home, but it is the first to track children up to the age of 18, explains Health.com.
Ganesha Wegienka, a research fellow in the department of public health at Henry Ford Hospital, Detroit, who led the research, said: “This study provides further evidence that children’s first-year experiences that are associated with health, and that early exposure to pets does not put children in danger of being sensitized to these animals later in life. ”
However, Health.com points out, the authors of the study may not have considered the possibility that the existence of pets in childhood is a related factor, not a decisive one. Specifically, it is likely that a child with a predisposition to this type of allergies will have other allergic family members in the extended family, which leads to a greater chance that the child will grow up in a home without animals than in the case of a child who is allergic.
Psychologically positive parts of having pets near a child
The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry encourages parents to raise their little ones with a pet. There are several psychological benefits: the children who learn to care for an animal, to treat it with gentleness and patience, are likely to learn to treat his peers in the same way.
However, parents are advised to choose a suitable partner. An aggressive or exotic animal, difficult to care for, could turn the experience into an unpleasant one.
Studies have shown that those children who come from pet-owning families have a high degree of empathy and social skills superior to those who do not have an animal in the home. In addition, research on 600 children between the ages of 3 and 18 has shown that there is a link between growing up with an animal and an increased level of confidence in children’s own powers and greater cognitive development, according to EveryDayHealt.
Pay attention to the reverse side of the coin when you have pets near a child
Inhaling animal hair can cause immunological reactions in the respiratory tract, affecting the nasal-tracheo-bronchial sector and giving rise to asthma-like syndromes.
Dr. Miruna Georgescu, a pediatric primary physician, explains: “If a child inhales hairs from an animal’s skin, complications such as aspiration pneumonia may occur, it can get in the stomach or it can drown. ” Once it reaches the stomach, the hairs do not resist gastric acid.
On the other hand, in case of a direct, respiratory inhalation, the child is at the risk of aspiration pneumonia.
If the animal is not dewormed and vaccinated daily, children and adults can take a wide range of microbes and parasites.
Turtles are some of the least recommended animals for homes with small children.
They often get conjunctivitis, which can be transmitted more easily to children than to adults.
In addition, turtles, lizards and snakes carry salmonella and can transmit salmonellae – enterocolitis .
The dangers from animals can be largely controlled by strict hygiene and good behavior
- any animal kept in the house must be de-stemmed, vaccinated and regularly inspected;
- children are not allowed to approach the animal if it has become ill, even with something minor;
- children should be taught to not kiss the animals and to guard their face if they want to lick them;
- after each round of play, children should be allowed to wash their hands thoroughly;
- the little ones must never be taught to share the food with the animals in the house;
- children should explain why it is important, in a house where a dog or cat lives, not to eat what has fallen on them, even if it looks clean. If they are too young to understand, they should be constantly monitored to eat nothing from the ground;
- it is not indicated at all that the animals have access to the kitchen or to the food storage areas;
- children should not be allowed to play with unattended animals; most scratches or bites happen because the little ones don’t realize when the animals get too excited or too angry.
inspired from medlife