Aside from the overflowing joy and happiness, owning an animal comes with a string of health benefits as well. Recent studies show that being around an animal companion helps in reducing one’s stress levels, regulating blood pressure, preventing stroke, and even improving mental health.
However, despite these tempting advantages, some people are still hesitant of owning animals especially when they have kids at home. But a recent study published in the journal, Plos One might just change their mind!
In the recent study led by Bill Hesselmar of Sweden’s University of Gothenburg, it has been discovered that owning a pet or two can play a big role in allergies when it comes to children. According to the gathered data of the researchers, early pet keeping helps protect an infant from developing an allergy.
Bill Hesselmar and his team arrived at such conclusion after looking at the data they derived from two previous researches which involved 1,278 children.
One of the researches consulted in their study interviewed parents of 249 children numerous times. During the first interview, the children were just 6 to 12 months old and the parents were asked questions about pet ownership. After some time, the researchers interviewed the parents again along with the clinical evaluation of children when they were just 18-month-old, 3-year-old, and 8 to 9-year-old.
Meanwhile, the second study asked more than 1,000 children and parents about pet ownership and as well as the allergies that run in the family.Presence of asthma and symptoms of allergies were also asked during this period.
Once the data were gathered, the team reached a conclusion that allergies in children decreased as the number of pets present at home increase. Based on the research team’s findings, indeed, there is a correlation between the development of allergies in children and the presence of animals at home.
On the first study, the children, aged 8 and 9 years old, who grew up with more than 1 pet had fewer cases of allergy reports as compared to those who did not.
The team discovered that in second study, about 49% of children who do not have any pets at home during their first year of life developed allergies. Meanwhile, the figure decreased to 43% for children who lived with a pet during the first stages of their childhood. On the other hand, the number was reduced to 24% for children who grew up around three pets. Surprisingly, children who spent time with five or more pets during their early childhood had no allergies at all!
The research findings of the team led by Bill Hesselmar is not the only study supporting the positive role of household pets to children. Another study found out that owning animals can improve children’s immunity and prevent allergy development. In fact, according to Dr. Becker, children between the ages of 5-7 years old are attending school three weeks more per year than those without pets at all.
“Kids who grow up on farms and around animals don’t have allergies,” Dr. Becker explained. “That dander on that hair, that’s natural immunotherapy.”
The importance of household pets in the immunity and allergy development of children have been established. However, Dr. Becker clarified that this only works on children. Keeping a pet when you are already a grown-up will not magically reverse your allergy. However, if you have children and you would like to boost their immunity, might as well start owning pets by now!
It’s nice to know that we can help reduce a child’s chances of developing allergy by surrounding them with loving and caring animals. Do not forget to SHARE the good news to your love ones!
(Note: This article is for informational and entertainment purposes only and not to be treated as a professional opinion, recommendation or medical diagnosis.)