A Healthy Reason to Love Your Dog

Dogs may reduce childhood asthma and eczema risk

(RxWiki News) Your dog may benefit your child's health, according to two new studies.

One new study found that babies whose mothers had a dog while pregnant may have increased protection from allergic eczema. The other new study found that children who are regularly exposed to dogs may see a decreased risk of asthma.

The authors of one of these new studies pointed out that eczema is common in infants but can lead to asthma and food and nasal allergies. Eczema is marked by red, itchy rashes.

Mothers who were exposed to a dog indoors for at least an hour a day while they were pregnant were likely to give birth to babies with a lowered risk of eczema, one study found. However, this lowered risk appeared to fade at age 10.

The second study found that dogs may carry certain elements, such as bacteria, that protect children from asthma. However, the protein that causes allergic reactions to dogs may cause asthma symptoms in children with a dog allergy.

The authors of this study pointed out that children who are allergic to dogs should not be exposed to dogs. They did not identify the specific elements dogs carry that might protect non-allergic children from asthma.

To reduce dog allergens in your home, experts recommend bathing your dog at least once a week, washing your hands after petting the dog, restricting the dog's access to a few rooms in your home, and using air filters and vacuum cleaners regularly.

If you are concerned about your child's risk for eczema, asthma or allergies, talk to your child's pediatrician.

These studies were published in the Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology.

Information on study funding sources and potential conflicts of interest was not available at the time of publication.