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Cat or dog in the house?

If you have a pet cat or dog in your home, your child's chances of developing a pet allergy is no higher that if there was no pet in the home. In fact, your child may often be protected thanks to the exposure, according to a report in the journal Clinical & Experimental Allergy written by researchers from the Department of Public Health Sciences, Henry Ford Hospital.

This new research may help relieve the concern of many parents worried that keeping a pet at home might raise the allergy risk of their child.

According to the research, scientists found that exposure to a specific pet during the child's first year of life was important because this is a key exposure period. In some groups, this exposure was, in fact, protective.

Young adult males who were exposed to dogs during their first 12 months of life had a 50 percent lower risk of becoming sensitized to dogs compared to young adult males who had no dog in the house during the same period.

Adult males and females were much less likely to be sensitized to cats if they lived with a cat in the house during their first 12 months of life, compared to peers who did not have a pet cat during the same period.

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June 2011