“Don’t touch that cat! Dirteee!”, says a Mom to her toddler, as she whips out a box of wet wipes.
“Don’t worry, he needs to develop resistance”, says Dad.
Does this seem familiar? Is Mom paranaoid? And is Dad too relaxed?
As parents, we want to protect our precious kids from anything we think will give them allergies, including mouse, dog and cat fur, and even cockroach droppings.
But a new study published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology found that babies exposed to a specific combination of such allergens were less likely to develop asthma later on. It says:
“…exposure to high levels of certain allergens and bacteria in early life might be beneficial and suggest new preventive strategies for wheezing and allergic diseases.” – Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology
But the study found that only a specific combo of allergens had the effect of reducing the onset of asthma later on in life. The Daily Beast sums up the conclusion:
The study found that children exposed to a perfect storm of bacteria and allergens—specifically mouse and cat dander and cockroach droppings—had lower rates of wheezing at 3 years old, but only when the exposure took place before 1 year of age.
This study suggests that, as babies develop their own immune systems after birth, exposure to allergens may help strengthen their resistance.
Paranoid new mums and dads can now stop worrying. Cats, dogs, mice, and even cockroaches are our friends. So in a way, maybe Dad is right.
Happy Father’s Day!