Did you know children exposed to pets are less likely to develop food allergies?
The latest study supported this statement after examining more than 65,000 infants. In addition, it stated that children exposed to pets, for instance, cats or indoor dogs, at the time of fetal development or early infancy had fewer chances of developing food allergies than others.
“Hisao Okabe and colleagues from the Fukushima Regional Center for the Japan Environment and Children’s Study published the study in the open-access journal PLOS ONE.”
The cases of food allergies are rising every year, especially in developed countries. One out of 10 children are diagnosed with food allergies in these countries. There can be a possible link between pet exposure during pregnancy or early childhood and decreased risk of developing food allergies.
Further, Okabe and colleagues studied data from the Japan Environment and Children’s Study to examine a sample of 66,215 children. The information on both pet exposure and food allergies was available there.
The study stated the following:
- Around 22% of children were exposed to pets in the fetal period.
- Children exposed to indoor dogs and cats had a significantly lesser risk of food allergies.
- Children with indoor dog exposure had lower chances of egg, milk, and nut allergies.
- On the other side, children with cat exposure have significantly lower occurrence of egg, wheat, and soybean allergies.
- Surprisingly, children exposed to hamsters (0.9 percent of the total group studied) had significantly greater chances of developing nut allergies.
“This study used self-reported data from participants, supplemented by medical records obtained during the first trimester of pregnancy, at delivery, and the one-month check-up.
Therefore, the correctness of the results depends on the participant’s ability to recall the information accurately. Furthermore, this study cannot establish a causal relationship between pet exposure and food allergy incidence. Nevertheless, the authors propose that the findings can be a basis for future research into the underlying mechanisms of food allergies in children.”