Exposure to Dogs and Cats in the First Year of Life and Risk of Allergic Sensitization at 6 to 7 Years of Age

This study got big news today.  I jsut finished reading it.  HArd to know how to interpret it.  Take home messages for me:

  • Kids with one pet were just as likely to have allergies as kids with none
  • Kids with two pets did have fewer allergies
    • But
      • The kids in the study had pets when they were under 1 year of age
      • The kids were white and middle-class
      • Measured outcomes were at ~ 7 years of age.  No way to know what will happen after this age.
    • Soo
      • Don't go buy a pet.  Gotta buy two (!!)
      • Don't buy two based on this study alone.
        • Especially if the kid(s) are (is) no longer an infant

Studies like this are INTERESTTING .. but shouldn't really alter what we do.  Certainly, more research is needed.  The authors of the study proposed a mechansm for the findings .. but it's quite unclear WHY these findings demonstrated what they did .. or whether we can generalize the findings at all.