We’re sure you’ve heard the expression, “the house is so clean you can eat off the floors.” However a number of studies seem to show that we may be too clean. But don’t throw away the broom and dust rag just yet.
Dogs and cats were part of the studies with surprising results. Children who grew up in homes with either cats or dogs or both had a much lower incidence of allergens and asthma. Infants exposed to cats and/or dogs in their first year of life had fewer allergies to most allergens.
While scientists are not sure where the allergy protection comes from, they agree that we may be too concerned with keeping our homes so sanitary. Exposure to allergens and other pathogens such as bacteria and viruses may encourage our immune systems to work more effectively
In tests involving mice, researchers found that a bacteria living in dog dust, Lactobacillus johnsonii, in the gastrointestinal tract of the mice gave them the ability to resist certain allergens.
Research continues into this bacteria as a protection against allergens and asthma in children.
In the meantime, consider adopting a pet for your young children. But be sure you are ready to make the commitment that a pet requires. And please read our articles about children’s behavior with pets.