Owning a cat in early childhood may have a protective effect against the development of asthma symptoms in young children, a new study reveals.
Children with pet cats are more likely to have allergy-related antibodies to cats, say US researchers in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.
By age five, children who grew up with a cat are less likely to have wheeze, a respiratory symptom associated with asthma.
This finding suggests that prolonged cat ownership and early life exposure to cats may have a protective effect against early asthma indicators. Previously, some parents have avoided exposing their children to furry pets in early life, thinking that doing so could actually cause asthma.
Now, researcher Dr Matthew Perzanowski says the study indicates that avoiding cats to prevent the development of asthma is not advised.
“However, once a child has asthma and is allergic to cats, the recommendation would still be to find a new home for the cat," he added.
Child Asthma in the UK: Preventing Asthma
In the UK, 1.1 million children (1 in 10) are currently receiving treatment for asthma. An estimated 75% of hospital admissions for asthma are avoidable and as many as 90% of the deaths from asthma are preventable. Every 6 hours, one person dies from asthma in the UK.
Yet only one in five children with persistent asthma have it under control, according to another recent study. To find out more, Click Here.