Farm Animals and Asthma

March 6, 2018 by: Pediatrics for Parents staff Article Tags: ,

The Question: Does exposure to dogs and farm animals during early childhood lessen the risk of asthma at six years of age?

The Study: The medical records of over one million Swedish children born between January 1, 2001 and December 31, 2010 were evaluated for asthma medication prescriptions, diagnosis of asthma, and a family history of asthma. In addition, information on dog and farm registration were evaluated as an indicator of exposure to farm animals. The children’s respiratory status was determined at age six.

The Results: Depending on the age of the child and the length of exposure to a dog, the exposed children had an 8-13% decrease in asthma diagnoses or use of an asthma medicine than the children with no dog exposure. Exposure to farm animals yielded more than a 50% reduction in asthma diagnoses and asthma medication use.

Comment: This study lends support to the hygiene hypothesis and the idea that you can be too clean.

Read More: JAMA Pediatrics, 12/15