Many people would agree that there are few combinations cuter than puppies and babies. While it's certainly true that having both at once would be a lot of work, if kids are in your future, you may want to go ahead and consider getting a dog now - and not just for the photo ops. Here's why.
Many infants struggle with eczema, which can, in turn, lead to food allergies, nasal allergies, and asthma. But according to research recently presented at the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI) Annual Scientific Meeting, having a dog in the home during pregnancy can help protect the baby from allergic eczema. And this protection can last until the child is 10! One of the studies presented at the meeting found that if mom kept a dog inside for at least an hour a day, baby had a much lower risk of eczema by age two.
Another study investigated the effects of dog exposure on children with asthma. For many of the children, exposure to a dog actually helped with asthma. The only exception was dog-allergic children living in an urban environment. However, if the children weren't allergic to dogs, they received asthma-protective effects from spending time with a dog.
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Balancing the needs of a household that includes someone with a dog allergy can be tricky, particularly if you're a pet lover or just want to offer your children the benefit of exposure to a dog. The ACAAI offered some suggestions for limiting dog allergens where possible.
First, keep the dog out of the bedroom of the person with the allergy. Try to keep your pet limited to just a few rooms. Encourage the allergic person to wash up with soap and water after touching the dog. The dog should bathe regularly too, at least once a week, to reduce airborne dog allergens.
Finally, for those allergens that do make it into the air, HEPA cleaners and high-efficiency vacuum cleaners or a central vacuum can make a big difference in reducing the allergens circulating throughout your home.
We often assume that keeping everything as clean and sterile as possible is the best way to protect our children. But children can actually benefit quite a bit from having a four-legged friend - yes, even if he tracks mud over a freshly mopped floor.
To your health, naturally,