Thursday, March 26, 2015

Dog saliva might hold the key to relieving allergies

Dogs are good for our health - this has been proven over and over again in everything from depression to heart problems. They might also hold the key to relieving allergies in humans, and possibly protect children from developing asthma.

Scientists at the University of Arizona recently launched a new study to see if a bacteria found in dog saliva and on dogs can lessen sneezing, itching, and hives. The idea is based on studies showing that infants born in households with dogs have a significantly lower incidence of allergies and asthma than infants in households without pets.

When it comes to asthma, dogs protect children from an infection called RSV - respiratory syncytial virus - that is connected to asthma. While being in contact with a dog is beneficial at all ages, the protection increases the earlier the child meets a dog, and being born into a household with a dog is more likely to protect against RSV and asthma than getting a dog at a later stage in life.

Allergies and asthma have increased in the Western world, and this might be based on our immune systems having too little to react to, and a dog might work as a probiotic, enhancing the human immune response.

The current study will match persons between the ages of 50 and 60 with dogs and measure their immune responses over a period of 12 weeks. If successful, the next study will include children.

~ Maria Sadowski ~

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