Exposure to pets in early life alters the gut microbiome of babies potentially protecting from allergies

Science Translation

It wasn’t that long ago that having a family history of allergies meant that the family dog or cat must go. The thought was that their presence would aggravate allergies and that  a clean house free of dust and allergens could prevent children from developing allergies. How the times have changed, there is now plenty of research to support the notion that children who grow up with pets have lower rates of asthma and allergies. This research has resulted in the hypothesis that living in a home that is too clean (ie. free of germs and allergens) can actually increase someone’s susceptibility to developing allergic diseases like asthma, eczema, and rhinitis. This hypothesis is called the hygiene hypothesis and has been a hot topic of research for years. The idea is that our immune system needs certain types of microbes present in our body to educate them and help…

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