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Can an asthmatic kid have a pet?
A common question that may occur to many parents, especially pet lovers, is if it is possible to have a pet in the house if they have an asthmatic child. It’s really a confusing issue specially that there are many controversial studies concerning this subject.
Asthma is a complex disease in which there appear to be many factors, both genetic and environmental. Pets with fur and feathers can be an asthma trigger for many people. However, contrary to popular belief, your animal’s fur probably may not be the culprit.
On the contrary, a study shows that high levels of pet allergen in the home decrease the risk of asthma, apparently by altering the immune response to pets. It was found that some children developed a tolerance, protecting them against pet allergies, because of a particular type of antibody they developed. However, this may not apply to anyone, as high exposure appears to be protective of some children and a risk factor for others, and it is possible that this difference is genetically controlled.
What some studies suggest is that infants, who are exposed early in life to different microorganisms, develop immune systems that are resistant to developing asthma and allergies.
However, exposing older kids to pets in the hopes of preventing or ameliorating allergies or asthma isn’t going to help, and in the case of existing disease, will likely hurt.
Think carefully, and discuss with your pediatrician, before adding a dog, pet or bird to your household. If you already have a pet you may need to make some changes.