June 25, 2015

New Study Links Pets To Baby’s Healthier Immune System

Despite the common concern of allergic reactions of kids from pets, new studies have found that they could actually help babies develop stronger immune systems.

A Finnish study spearheaded by Dr. Eija Bergroth of Kuopio University Hospital conducted the study on 397 infants that were delivered in their hospital, between September 2002 and May 2005.

Babies And Pets

The study, published in The Official Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, required the parents to note down in their journal the specific times when the babies had contact with either cats or dogs, starting from their ninth week. Attached to the journal were the regular updates on the babies’ state of health.

From the data collected, they were able to glean that those babies who had more contact with cats and dogs – regardless of where the contact was made – had fewer instances of sickness, such as fever, colds, cough, and inner ear infections.

The Hygiene Hypothesis

A possible explanation for this correlation, which they dubbed as the “hygiene hypotehsis”, is that the dogs and cats bring in dirt and other germs from their trips outdoors. While the common perception is that these are generally bad for the health of babies, the fact is that these are the very triggers that help the babies’ immune systems mature faster. The more they are able to adapt to the presence of these elements, the better they are able to ward off the true harmful viruses, which can cause the serious diseases on children.

Said the chief of the pediatric pulmonary unit at MassGeneral Hospital for Children in Boston, Dr. T. Bernard Kinane, not involved with the study in Finland, “In many ways, (the study) is saying, if you’re exposed to a natural environment…your immune system recognizes that you don’t fight the normal allergens.”

Of course, nothing could be better than having a healthy baby in the family. Their safety and well-being should be the foremost concern of everyone, so it still would be for everyone’s benefit to check up with the family doctor first, just to make sure that having a pet is not going to trigger allergic reactions on the baby.

Read up on more information on family check-ups, particularly for the baby, at Vorsorgeuntersuchung.


  1. Antonio Sanchez says:

    can you add a link to the details of this study?
    where it was done, under what circumstances, how many children was in the study group and how many in the control group, what are the results and what variables did it used to get to this conclusion.

    graphs would be awesome :D


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