Animal contact in childhood - tuition for the immune system?

A small dog - nothing wants six-year Tamara more. A four-legged friend accompanying her and her mother as they walk with the baby. But her parents are skeptical. What if a family member, in the end one of the children, develops an animal hair allergy? And the diseases that such an animal can bring, now that the baby is so small ... no problem, say studies from the US. The sooner a child gets in touch with animals, the lower their risk of contracting an allergy.

Early contact with animals prevents allergies

Buying an animal is always a big decision. The concerns that Tamaras parents have about possible allergies are unfounded. On the contrary, children who have contact with animals in the first years of life develop significantly fewer allergies than children from households without a pet.

Dr. Marshall Plaut, director of the US Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, confirms this: "Children living with two or more pets also seem to be protected against other allergies, such as house dust mites or grass pollen." Another US American The study even found that the risk of allergies was up to 50% lower for children living with household animals. "These data completely baffled us, " reports Dr. med. Dennis R. Ownby, head of the Department of Allergy and Immunology, Medical College of Geor gia. "It was just the opposite of what we expected."

The immune system matures

When a baby is born, his immune system is still immature. Only in the course of the next weeks and months does it learn to distinguish dangerous from harmless. In the case of an allergy, the immune system reacts to a harmless substance, such as animal saliva or a food, such as a dangerous enemy. Depending on the type of allergy it comes to chapping, watery eyes and dripping noses to asthma or an allergic shock.

Whether saliva or dander of the animals themselves steer the child's immune system in the right lanes, or whether the positive effect is due to the bacteria that carries an animal with it, has not yet been proven. "If we have seen through this principle, " says Dr. Ownby, "could be developed on these findings, a whole new way of allergy prophylaxis."

If the mothers are already allergic

But not every child reacts positively to a pet. The exception is children whose mothers have already had asthma themselves. Again, it was the research group of Dr. med. Marshall Plaut, who found out that these children should better not keep animals to protect themselves from allergies and asthma. "Asthma is a very complex disease, " explains Dr. Plaut. "How much the hereditary component is and how much the environment is to blame for its break-out, has yet to be explored in further studies."

The right education

In order to enable a child and pet to live together, both must learn to live together. Dogs are very intelligent and can be educated under proper instruction with little effort to obedient roommates. Even dogs who are not naturally fond of children can learn to accept babies and toddlers as higher-ranking beings.

Good basic training mostly offer rescue dog squadrons. Pay attention to personal care! Stubborn In-Circle Marching while an instructor yells out from the middle of the circle will not get you or your dog on.

Even cats can learn rules. Thus, a four-legged friend has lost nothing on or on the table when there are food. The sleeping places of humans and animals should always be kept separate.

Regular visit to the vet

A healthy animal does not transmit diseases, so regular visits to the vet are mandatory. Even guinea pigs, hamsters or pet birds can have diseases that spread to humans. Especially if the children are in the crawl and "I-have-it-all-mouth" age, worm cures and flea control products that can be given with the feed are recommended for dog and cat every four to six weeks,

Never leave toddlers alone

The most important rule that parents must follow is: Never leave a small child alone with the animal. On the one hand to protect the child from injury by the animal. On the other hand, even many pet animals have been maliciously played, because the young explorers' thirst for knowledge became too big - adults know that a budgerigar can not swim, a child may want to try that out first.

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