Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Dogs and Asthma?

*Announcement: We interrupt the usual ditzy postings and bring to you a posting on a more serious note.*

My M was having a conversation online with her friend, and the topic went to dogs and asthma, after the said friend found out that I'm gonna get a brother. She expressed concern that dogs can cause asthma, or trigger it if the human's genes have asthma, and wonder how my M and MM will cope when they have kids in future.

Although many people have this idea that dogs (or rather, pets) can cause asthma, they do not realise that dogs do not CAUSE asthma. They can be a TRIGGER, because they are a common source of allergens, but they are not the cause. Compared to cats and rodents, dogs cause less allergiv sensitivity than other mammals. Other things like tobacco, dust, mould, or sometimes even temperature or emotions can trigger off an asthma attack. So before eliminating other possible causes of asthma attack, it can be very unfair to your pets if you decide to give them away or abandon them just because someone had an asthma attack. I know there are many families who will conveniently pin all the blame on the poor pet and decide to give them up, without even checking if the triggers could be due to other factors.

Even if the asthma is triggered off by pets, there are some things that can be done to minimise the impact of pet allergens. You can have a pet-free area in your house (most recommend the bedroom), frequent vacuuming and mopping will mininise the presence of allergen. Basically, have a clean house.

Also, latest research has shown that having a pet can make kids less likely to develop asthma or allergies. The researchers believe that exposing children to cats and dogs so early in their lives affects how their immune system develops. The result is that they have a lower risk of developing allergies and diseases associated with them, such as asthma.

The study of 474 children found that those exposed to two or more cats or dogs during the first year of life had half the risk of developing common allergies by age 7 than children who had not been exposed to pets. The children growing up with multiple pets had lower rates of allergies to pets, ragweed, grass and dust mites.

Another study also shows that dog exposure in infancy decreases the subsequent risk of frequent wheeze, although not of atopy.

Being a dog, of course I support the latter theory. And they did say that exposure to two or more cats or dogs will half the risk of developing allergies. I make one... and my brother will make two dogs. See? We're helping to lower the risk already! Besides, other medical benefits in having a dog is that we help to lower the possibility of heart disease, reduce stress, and some of us can even sniff out cancerous cells!

*Announcement: End of serious note, start of ditzyness.*

I think I shall become a doctor. Any idea if medical school accepts dogs? Or anyone wants me to sniff any cancerous cells? Preferably in the kitchen?

Note: Post with references from the following websites
Center for disease control and prevention
The Answer Bank
Personal MD
Paediatrics Journal


Joey said...

wow Herbie. You sound so serious and professional! Doesn't fit your "Act Blur" / "Dizzy golden blonde" image. OOps.... sorry for being 'fur-color' discrimination

herbie said...

oi, i "act blur, think smart' ok, so I am in fact, very smart.

Joey said...

Typo mistake - Ditzy not dizzy

Scuba said...

2 cats and 1 dog (or more) in my house so think about it