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Cats Increase Risk For Eczema While Dogs Lower Chance - Babies and Children Exposed To Felines May Develop Atopic Dermatitis

May 22nd 2006

Cats Increase Risk For Eczema While Dogs Lower Chance - Babies and Children Exposed To Felines May Develop Atopic Dermatitis


Researchers from the University of Arizona say that children exposed to cats soon after birth have an increased risk of developing eczema.  Dogs on the other hand, had a protective effect.  According to, eczema is a general term encompassing various inflamed skin conditions. One of the most common forms of eczema is atopic dermatitis.  The condition is sometime called "atopic eczema".

The study which was presented at the American Thoracic Society International Conference on May 21st, involved 486 children who were followed since birth.  The researchers asked the parents how many dogs and cats were in the house at the time of birth.  They then came back a year later to determine which children developed eczema. 

They found that of the 134 children with cats in the house, 27.6 percent developed eczema.  Of the 286 children without cats, only 17.8 percent developed eczema.


Interestingly, of the children who developed eczema, the condition was worse for those whose mother did not have eczema.  Previous studies have found that people with eczema have a higher chance of also having allergic conditions including hay fever and asthma. Comment on this Article at our Forum

The lead researcher was doctor Esmeralda Morales, M.D. who is Pediatric Pulmonary Fellow at the University of Arizona in Tucson.  She said "Other studies have found that having cats or dogs at home seems to be protective against allergic diseases, so we expected to have similar findings.  Pets are a source of a compound called endotoxin, and if a child is exposed to endotoxin early in life, the immune system may be skewed away from developing an allergic profile."


It could be that the children in the study who developed eczema at age 1 might end up having a reduced risk of asthma or other allergic diseases later in life, Dr. Morales noted. "The findings do seem to add more questions about pets and asthma and allergies," she said. "Since there are a lot of contradictory data out there already, clearly it's a topic that needs further research."

Approximately 10 percent to 20 percent of the world population is affected by this chronic, relapsing, and very itchy rash at some point during childhood. Fortunately, many children with eczema find that the disease clears and often disappears with age.

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Important:  The material on Best Syndication is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment for any medical conditions. You should promptly seek professional medical care if you have any concern about your health, and you should always consult your physician before starting a fitness program.

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Copyright 2005 Best Syndication                   Last Updated Saturday, July 10, 2010 09:51 PM