Exposure to Pets in Womb, 1st Year of Life Boosts Child's Risk of Asthma, Allergy

  • By Lee Hae-na

    October 26, 2019 08:24

    Children who are exposed to pets while in the mother's womb and in the first year of life are at greater risk of asthma and animal allergies, a study suggests.

    Researchers of 18 Korean medical institutions including Asan Medical Center in Seoul conducted a survey of 554 7-year-olds who were born in 2008.

    They found that children in families with dogs or cats between the time of the mother's pregnancy and the age of 12 months are five to six times more likely to suffer wheezing and asthma.

    The risk of testing positive for dog or cat allergies was about four times higher.

    "The period from conception to one to three years after birth is very important for the development of a child's immune system," said Prof. Hong Soo-jong at Asan Medical Center. "If they are exposed to a certain allergen during the period, an allergic reaction can occur."

    He added, "To help prevent asthma from developing in children, it is recommended to avoid exposure to pets during pregnancy and in the first year of life." 

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