Growing up in a household with more than one pet can reduce a child’s chances of developing allergies by half, a new study has found.
Researchers at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden looked at data from two previous studies.
They knew childhood pets could reduce the likelihood of children developing asthma, eczema and hay fever, but they wanted to work out whether having more than one animal in the house could lower the risk even further.
The results were pretty conclusive. 49% of children who grew up without a cat or dog in the first 12 months of their lives went on to develop an allergy.
This dropped to 43% for babies living with one pet, and just 24% for children who were exposed to three pets.A history of the royal family’s dogsby Country Living GBPauseUnmuteCurrent Time 0:03Loaded: 0%Progress: 0%Remaining Time -3:16FullscreenShareCLICK TO UNMUTE
And more exposure to more pets means more protection. Lead Researcher Bill Hesselmar told New Scientist: “A dog or a cat that is seldom inside the house, or seldom in close contact with the child, may not be protective.”
He added that exposure to more than one animal had a similar affect to that of growing up on a farm. Children who do so also have a lower probability of developing allergies.
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