Growing up I was always jealous that most of my friends had dogs because I really wanted one. My dad is allergic to both cats and dogs and whenever he is around one, he begins to sneeze a lot. Seeing my dad be allergic to pets like that, I am fortunate that I don’t have the same or any allergies at all. However, I always wanted to know why he developed certain allergies for pets and I was the lucky one being allergic to nothing.
Some of the most common allergies come from pets and food, especially dairy products and nuts. Developing allergies can be different for everybody. Maybe you were born with it and later in your life your body outgrows the allergy. On the other hand, its possible to develop an allergy when you are older, which unfortunately is unlikely to go away. What happens is your body’s immune system comes in contact with a certain particle, for example outdoor allergies, and thinks it’s harmful. In the article, When Allergies Suddenly Develop, Jennifer Scott explains that your body then produces antibodies called Immunoglobulin E, where they attach themselves to cells releasing a chemical called Histamine. From the website WebMd, histamine gets rid of whatever that allergy is, which can be through sneezing, coughing, itchy or teary eyes. To stop these symptoms, its common to take an anti-histamine. So overall, common allergies are found to be an overreaction of your body’s immune system, believing something that is harmful when it’s actually safe.
It’s hard to know if and when you will have an allergy since they can appear at any time. However, there has been some controversy over if you can protect yourself from allergies at a young age. Scientists claim that if infants, under the age of one, are under the same roof as dogs, they are more likely to be protected from that allergen when they are older. To prove this, a longitudinal study was performed where scientists tracked people for 18 years to see their outcomes. According to the article, Baby’s First Year Important for Pet Allergies, author Joe Brownstein says the scientists studied 565 children from birth until they were 18 years old. They used interviews to research the amount of exposure their children got from cats and dogs. At the age of 18, the scientists would take a blood sample to identify different immune-system proteins, which are like antibodies, that fight away any dog or cat allergen. The study found that most children exposed to pets under the age of one, wound up having a 50% lower risk of getting a pet allergy later in their life.
This study has some interesting results, however after looking more into it, it seems there have been some conflicting results. Recently, Dr. Tolly G. Epstein an assistant professor at Ohio’s University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, believes the previous situation mentioned remains in a grey area and he believes that parents shouldn’t listen to those results just yet. Overall, its seems that more studies are needed to be conducted in order to find the validity of all of these results, but it makes sense that building up your child’s immune system could potentially protect them later in life. If the case is that infants living with pets under the age of one decreases the chance of obtaining that allergy, then it’s possible in the future people can take advantage and try to lower the risk of their kid’s allergies.