Infants exposed to pet and pest allergens less likely to have asthma.

Children exposed to high indoor levels of pet or pest allergens  from cats, dust, cockroaches and mice during infancy have a lower risk of developing asthma by 7 years of age.  This new research is reported by  National Institutes of Health.

  • 8% of  of children in the U. S. currently have asthma, a chronic disease that intermittently inflames and narrows the airways.
  • Asthma can result in missed time from school and work and is a major cause of emergency department visits and hospitalizations.

The new study included 442 children for whom researchers had enough data to assess asthma status at age 7 years, 29 percent had asthma.

Higher concentrations of cockroach, mouse and cat allergens present in dust samples collected from the children’s homes during the first three years of life (at age 3 months, 2 years and 3 years) were linked to a lower risk of asthma by age 7 years.

The researchers observed a similar association for dog allergen, although it was not statistically significant, meaning it could be due to chance.  Additional analysis indicated that exposure to higher levels of these four allergens at age 3 months was associated with a lower risk of developing asthma.

“We are learning more and more about how the early-life environment can influence the development of certain health conditions,” said NIAID Director Anthony S. Fauci, M.D. “If we can develop strategies to prevent asthma before it develops, we will help alleviate the burden this disease places on millions of people, as well as on their families and communities.”

The findings, published September 19 in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, may provide clues for the design of strategies to prevent asthma from developing.

Source: National Institute of Health www.nih.gov.

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