New research has suggested growing up with exposure to dogs can dramatically reduce a child’s risk of asthma.
The study analysed data on over 1 million children born in Sweden between 2001 and 2010 where, helpfully, dog and farm animal ownership must be registered by law.
The data showed that exposure to dogs during the first year of life was associated with a 15% lower likelihood of childhood asthma, while living close to farm animals cut the risk by a staggering 52%.
Whilst it’s not quite cause to run out and take on the huge responsibility of adopting a dog, nor great news for parents with pet allergies, the study does add strong support to the ‘Hygiene Hypothesis’.
The ‘Hygiene Hypothesis’ is a school of thought that suggests our ultra-clean living conditions may be increasing our susceptibility to allergy conditions including asthma – something we’ve covered before on the Pai blog!