Children and Allergies from P.E.T.A.
Reducing Allergies in Childhood
Early childhood exposure to cats, dogs, and other animals has been shown to lower the risk of developing allergic reactions later in life. One study of more than 800 children in Switzerland found an inverse relationship between contact with dogs and diagnoses of hay fever and asthma, whereas children who had “early and current contact with cats were associated with reduced risk of wheezing and grass pollen sensitization.”(8) Another study of more than 8,000 children, ages 5 to 7, determined that those who had been continuously exposed to cats from the time that they were 1 year old were 67 percent less likely than other children to develop allergic asthma.(9) In some countries where cat companionship is high, epidemiological studies have shown a relatively low prevalence of cat allergies.(10)
Medication May Be a Solution
New medications can make living with allergies much more comfortable. A wide variety of nasal sprays, antihistamines, decongestants, and inhalers can help control allergy symptoms. Immunotherapy is composed of a series of shots given over time that can help desensitize you to allergens. Your allergist can help you choose the right plan for you.
Certain nutritional supplements and herbs can also help to minimize an allergic response, including vitamins A, B6, C, and E; bioflavonoids such as citrin; flaxseed oil, which contains omega-3 fatty acids; MSM (methylsulfonylmethane); and the herbs stinging nettles, grapeseed extract, and ginkgo.(11) Check with a holistic health-care practitioner for more information.
What You Can Do
First, be sure that it really is your animal who is provoking your allergic reaction. If you’re allergic to an animal, you are probably allergic to other things as well. By decreasing other irritants, you’ll reduce your overall symptoms. Avoid tobacco smoke, automobile exhaust, and other irritants that can inflame your airways.