Ask Dr. Nandi: Can man's best friend chase away eczema, asthma?

Posted at 5:47 PM, Oct 27, 2017
and last updated 2017-10-27 17:47:09-04

Eczema is a common condition in children and often begins before the age of 5. 

It typically makes skin dry, itchy and red. Having eczema often leads to other allergic diseases like asthma.

It’s very interesting that a family dog could have a protective effect.  

It seems if you have a family dog before you get pregnant, you may lower your child’s risk for Eczema. This study followed over 780 mothers and their children. 

Each home had at least one dog who spent no less than one hour inside the home.

Researchers found prenatal exposure to dogs significantly reduced children’s risk of eczema by about half, by age 2. 

This protective effect did go down by the time the kids reached 10 years, but more data and research could change this.

This other study looked at substances found on dogs like bacteria and allergens. 188 children in Baltimore with asthma took part. 

Researchers found non-allergen substances may have a protective effect by reducing asthma inhaler use and nighttime asthma symptoms. 

But they also found allergen-inducing proteins resulted in more asthma symptoms along with the use of inhalers.

1. If you have family members with dog allergies, but don’t want to give up your pet, be sure to talk with an allergist to reduce exposure.  

2. Vacuum frequently and use a HEPA cleaner. Together, this will reduce allergen levels, pet dander and hair.  

3. Allergens are airborne but allowing your pet access to only a few rooms will lower them. And be sure to keep your dogs out of the bedrooms. 

4. Wash hands with soap and water after touching your dog and try to limit hugs and kisses.

Not being exposed to tobacco smoke before or after a woman gives birth reduces the risk of a child developing asthma. 

Breastfeeding for the first 4 to 6 months could strengthen a child’s immune system and prevent eczema, which then could lower the risk of developing asthma along with food and nasal allergies.